Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Twin Study Indicates Genetic Basis For Processing Faces, Places

Date:
December 22, 2007
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
A new study of twins indicates that the genetic foundation for the brain's ability to recognize faces and places is much stronger than for other objects, such as words. The results are some of the first evidence demonstrating the role of genetics in assigning these functions to specific regions of the brain.

A new study of twins indicates that the genetic foundation for the brain's ability to recognize faces and places is much stronger than for other objects, such as words. The results, which appear in the December 19 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, are some of the first evidence demonstrating the role of genetics in assigning these functions to specific regions of the brain.

"We are social animals who have specialized circuitry for faces and places," says Arthur W. Toga, PhD, director of the Laboratory of NeuroImaging at UCLA School of Medicine. "Some people are better at recognizing faces and places, and this study provides evidence that it is partially determined by genetics."

Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, Thad Polk, PhD, Joonkoo Park, and Mason Smith of the University of Michigan, along with Denise Park, PhD, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, measured activity in the visual cortex of 24 sets of fraternal and identical twins. The twins watched several series of images: sets of people's faces, houses, letters strung together, and chairs, as well as scrambled images that served as a baseline measurement.

Previous research had identified distinct regions in the visual cortex where different categories of information are processed, a sort of division of labor in the brain that handles information about people, for example, independently of that related to cars.

Polk's analysis of brain activity patterns from the twins suggests how the organization of these independent regions is shaped. By showing greater similarity in the brain activity of identical twins than their fraternal counterparts when processing faces and places, the results indicate a genetic basis for these functions. Activity in response to words, Polk suggests, may be shaped to a greater degree by one's experiences and environment.

"Face and place recognition are older than reading on an evolutionary scale, they are shared with other species, and they provide a clearer adaptive advantage," says Polk. "It is therefore plausible that genetics would shape the cortical response to faces and places, but not orthographic stimuli."

The work was a supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Twin Study Indicates Genetic Basis For Processing Faces, Places." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071218192044.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2007, December 22). Twin Study Indicates Genetic Basis For Processing Faces, Places. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071218192044.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Twin Study Indicates Genetic Basis For Processing Faces, Places." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071218192044.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
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
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. 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

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