Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Region Used In Face Recognition Is Active In New Object Recognition

Date:
June 24, 1999
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
The brain region critical in face perception is also active when humans become expert in recognizing a set of unknown, novel objects, according to a new study by researchers at Yale University Medical School and Brown University.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The brain region critical in face perception is also active when humans become expert in recognizing a set of unknown, novel objects, according to a new study by researchers at Yale University Medical School and Brown University.

The findings indicate the mechanisms responsible for face perception may be a learned skill rather than an innate function of the human brain: nurture, not nature. The primary authors of the study, published in the June issue of Nature Neuroscience, are Isabel Gauthier, a recent Yale Ph.D., and Michael J. Tarr, associate professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences at Brown.

Face recognition generally activates a different area of the brain - the right middle fusiform gyrus - than non-face object recognition, but this study found an expertise effect for non-face objects in the face recognition area of the brain.

The researchers tested five adults using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that creates a computerized image of the human brain at work. They scanned the five research subjects before, during and after exposing them to a family of novel objects called greebles: once before any exposure; three times during expertise training; and twice after the subjects had become expert at identifying greebles. Six additional adults were scanned only as greeble novices.

Greebles are a homogeneous class of complex three-dimensional objects organized into two categories: gender and family. They were designed in Tarr's laboratory first at Yale and then at the Brown University Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Studies. In this study, the process of training test subjects to be greeble recognition experts took approximately seven hours over at least four days.

When test subjects completed their training as greeble experts, the activity in their right middle fusiform gyrus was similar to activity generated during human face recognition. That brain activity did not occur when greeble novices were tested.

The findings contradict the argument that face recognition is a separate brain mechanism, said Tarr.

"Face recognition is one of the most difficult visual tasks humans perform, because faces are so similar," Tarr said. "Once you understand the mechanisms responsible for face recognition you can work with brain-injured people who have a deficit in that area. The real question now is how this remarkable ability arises."

Future studies should investigate a range of stimuli - both more and less face-like than greebles - and the type of expertise that can generate activity in face-specific brain areas, according to the authors. Their study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Brain Region Used In Face Recognition Is Active In New Object Recognition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990624080203.htm>.
Brown University. (1999, June 24). Brain Region Used In Face Recognition Is Active In New Object Recognition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990624080203.htm
Brown University. "Brain Region Used In Face Recognition Is Active In New Object Recognition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990624080203.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins