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How the Brain Spots Faces - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

Real faces are important to us and always have been. Now we know the ultimate neurological reasoning behind that ultimate evolutionary reason. Or at least the fMRI correlates.

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 01:11:07 UTC | #907115

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 2 by QuestioningKat

I wonder about some of the specifics for facial identification. I have an extremely good memory for faces even if I met the person for just a few minutes, decades ago. I can recall faces while I'm horrible at remembering names. Why is this? Why do some people lack this ability almost completely?

The article mentioned that (most likely) the left side of the brain “...tries to determine how face-like is a pattern, without making the final decision on whether I’m going to call it a face.” The right’s job is to make the final call. I wonder if this is why some imaginative and creative people see something that really isn't a face? It would make sense that the left side of the brain would then kick in again and start to judge what is actually being seen or maybe say how clever an idea. Interesting. I'll have to wait until research is more complete.

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 03:13:03 UTC | #907140

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 3 by drumdaddy

It's the face of Jesus!

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 09:02:54 UTC | #907191

keyfeatures's Avatar Comment 4 by keyfeatures

Computers are the same. iPhoto asks me "Is this xx?" regarding the shadows in a curtain. Mother Theresa appears on burnt toast.

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 10:14:28 UTC | #907217

IworshipRD's Avatar Comment 5 by IworshipRD

I can remember the faces of my die hard religious family members when I told them I was an Atheist!

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 13:51:56 UTC | #907320

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 6 by Vorlund

@comment 2

I did some post grad work on visual reasoning some years ago. Our brain stores memory of shapes and also stores what psychologists called 'semantic descriptors'. These are in different parts of the brain. It is possible to forget a semantic descriptor of a face i.e. the persons name but clearly see their image. A very large portion of our visual capacity is used in facial recognition, Brunswick noted he could casue strong emotional responses in test subjects merely by showing them cartoon like faces depicting different emotional states and we can differentiate well over a hundred. So we tend to remember faces, after all our visual centres were developed much earlier than our language centres and recognising freinds and foe meant survival. Labels (descriptors) however form a much smaller part of our later developed language capability and we normally use vocabulary in communicative structures and patterns such as speech. In short its easy to forget a name in isolation.

It is possible to find brain damaged individuals who can't remember faces even of their loved ones and others who can remember how to use every day objects like screwdrivers and hammers but can't select them from a collection of objects when asked to pick one up.

There is to my mind strong evidence of evolution inside our own heads. Isn't evolution wierd and wonderful? You'd think a superior intellect could have designed his own image pet species with a better constructed brain?

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 17:46:38 UTC | #907418

Universeman's Avatar Comment 7 by Universeman

I have a horrible time with facial recognition, even to the point of being unable to remember faces which ought to be familiar to me such as old acquaintances or recognizing a familiar face in a public place such as a grocery store. Just the other day I ran into a couple I know very well at a McDonalds, they were practically standing in front of me but I did not recognize their faces, it was not until I heard their voices that I was able to recognize their presence. What seems to be happening is that unless I am prepared to recognize someone (ie. my classmates in the class room whom I am already expecting to see), or they are extremely familiar to me, such as my own family, my facial recognition software goes into standby mode. Take one of my class mates and place them in walmart or somewhere I am not specifically meeting them and actively looking for their face. It becomes exceedingly unlikely that I will recognize their face amidst the background noise of faces which are strangers to me. I am working towards a degree in psychology and I am very interested in upcoming courses on cognition, perception and memory, the idea that I could be the subject of my own research is exceedingly intriguing to me.

Wed, 11 Jan 2012 19:17:59 UTC | #907444

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 8 by Starcrash

Comment 2 by QuestioningKat :

I wonder about some of the specifics for facial identification. I have an extremely good memory for faces even if I met the person for just a few minutes, decades ago. I can recall faces while I'm horrible at remembering names. Why is this? Why do some people lack this ability almost completely?

The article mentioned that (most likely) the left side of the brain “...tries to determine how face-like is a pattern, without making the final decision on whether I’m going to call it a face.” The right’s job is to make the final call. I wonder if this is why some imaginative and creative people see something that really isn't a face? It would make sense that the left side of the brain would then kick in again and start to judge what is actually being seen or maybe say how clever an idea. Interesting. I'll have to wait until research is more complete.

Left and right side of the fusiform gyrus, not the brain. We already knew exactly where in the brain facial recognition was stored by studying those who didn't have this ability. But it looks like scientists now have a better understanding of this part of the brain.

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 00:58:36 UTC | #907551

billzfantazy's Avatar Comment 9 by billzfantazy

What a coincidence. I just commented on another thread about facial recognition (it was comment number 202 so chances are it'll never be read) now I see a post on that very subject! If I didn't understand about confirmation bias I'd be totally spooked. Errr nothing constructive to add to this :-)

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 01:01:28 UTC | #907552

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 10 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 05:34:11 UTC | #907584

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 11 by SaganTheCat

those bath taps look a lot like of jesus

Thu, 12 Jan 2012 09:09:18 UTC | #907610

dwdeclare's Avatar Comment 12 by dwdeclare

...and dogs' brains are made to find feces

Fri, 13 Jan 2012 15:16:16 UTC | #907925