Navigation Links
Putting a name to a face may be key to brain's facial expertise
Date:6/16/2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Our tendency to see people and faces as individuals may explain why we are such experts at recognizing them, new research indicates. This approach can be learned and applied to other objects as well.

"This new research adds to the evidence that the brain processes faces differently because of our expertise with them. It also tells us what it is about our experience with faces that leads us to treat them holistically," Isabel Gauthier, associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University and one of the study's co-authors, said. "This knowledge may be useful in the development of training protocols for individuals with difficulties in face perception, such as individuals with autism spectrum disorders."

The research is currently in press at Psychological Science. Gauthier's co-authors are Alan Wong, who completed the study as his doctoral thesis in psychology at Vanderbilt, and Thomas Palmeri, associate professor of psychology. Wong is now an assistant professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong.

"Our findings suggest that facial expertise does not just develop with any type of experience," Wong said. "Learning to recognize a set of objects as individuals may work, but categorizing them at a more general level, or learning to manipulate them, would not. We develop different types of expertise in recognizing different objects not just due to their unique appearance, but also because of the types of experience we have had with them."

For decades, scientists have debated whether we are better able to recognize faces because we have evolved a brain system dedicated to this task or because we have extensive practice recognizing faces. Researchers agree that we recognize faces holistically, which is not how we generally recognize other objects. For example, we find it almost impossible to attend to only one part of a face and ignore the rest, while we might recognize a car by its grill, taillights or branding.

Prior research has shown that people can develop face-like expertise with novel objects, such as cars, and that once that expertise has been developed those objects are also processed holistically. But up until now it was unclear what it was about expertise that produced this holistic effect.

In the new study, Wong, Gauthier and Palmeri investigated this question by comparing two different types of training regimens with the same novel objects, called Ziggerins. The Ziggerins were created just for the experiment and have no real-world function.

One group learned to individuate these objects with unique names, much like we do with people and faces. Another group learned to very quickly categorize the objects based on shared structure. Each group became better than the other at the task on which it was trained, illustrating that different kinds of perceptual expertise can develop for the same objects. But, only the group that learned to individuate Ziggerins later processed novel Ziggerins holistically, like faces.

"This research indicates that not only is individuation key to our expertise with faces, but that this technique can be quickly applied to other objects," the authors said. "Hallmarks of face-like expertise do not require 10 years, or even 10 hours, of experience to emerge."


'/>"/>

Contact: Melanie Moran
melanie.moran@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-7970
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. AUDIO from Medialink and P&G: Putting Your Smile in Hollywoods Spotlight
2. Putting risk in perspective: Do people make better decisions when they understand average risk?
3. Putting on Pedometer Helps Walkers Shed Pounds
4. Putting the Medical Profession on Notice!: Widow Tells Tragic Story of How Her Husband Died Due to Misdiagnosis and Mistreatment
5. Putting an End to Medical Cruelty: A Horrifying Article in Yahoo this Week by T. L. Kittle
6. U.S. Soccer Team Putting Vision in Focus for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
7. VA Putting Mobile Pharmacies on the Road
8. Targeting aggressive breast cancers by putting them to sleep
9. Putting Health Before Politics: How the United States Senate Can Fix Global HIV/AIDS Funding
10. When it comes to putting, Tiger and Nicklaus
11. When it comes to putting, Tiger and Nicklaus might not have best advice
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June 14 on ... article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo ... such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida attorneys ... peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers practicing ... members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark D. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... today at the Clinical Decision Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra ... authored journal articles published in Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) ... held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, Rockville, ... dedicated to helping service members that have been wounded in battle and their families. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Southern Illinois University School of Dental ... Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS) Foundation’s Mission of Mercy (MOM). They will host ... Collinsville. , They expect to treat approximately 2,000 patients from Illinois, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ... company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it ... Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said ... increase shareholder awareness of our progress in developing drugs ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... KNOXVILLE, Tenn. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market providing less invasive and more durable cerebrospinal ... million in funding.  The Series-A funding is led ... the Lighthouse Fund, and other private investors.  Arkis, ... less-invasive neurosurgical instrumentation and the market release of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the function ... the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to keep ... in balance. Increasing number of ESRD patients ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: