Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain waves show patterns for deciding which faces we prefer

Date:
February 11, 2010
Source:
University of Goldsmiths London
Summary:
Faces play a very important role in our social life. We make complex social decisions based on facial appearance. But we know little how we make a preference decision when the two faces are closely matched (e.g., age, race, gender, gaze, facial attributes, facial emotion). Is there any specific brain activity pattern associated with our preference (or non-preference)? Can these patterns be identified before our conscious decision?

Faces play a very important role in our social life. We make complex social decisions based on facial appearance. Extensive research has been made to identify a set of facial features which make a face attractive. Possibly no research is needed to predict which face a heterosexual male would prefer when asked to choose between Megan Fox (voted as one of the sexiest celebrities) and Jocelyn Wildenstein (voted as one of the ugliest celebrities).

Related Articles


But we know little how we make a preference decision when the two faces are closely matched (e.g., age, race, gender, gaze, facial attributes, facial emotion). Is there any specific brain activity pattern associated with our preference (or non-preference)? Can these patterns be identified before our conscious decision?

These problems were addressed by a neuroimaging study led by Joydeep Bhattacharya at Goldsmiths, University of London, where human volunteers were asked to make a preference decision between two faces which are closely matched. Faces were presented one after the other and volunteers were instructed to choose the face that they would most like to approach and to talk to. Their brain waves (electroencephalogram) were continuously recorded.

"We found specific brain activity patterns which correlate to the decision making process," said Bhattacharya, "one pattern is specific to the face currently being looked at, and the other is specific to the face previously shown which is only available through mental recall, and surprisingly, both patterns occur well before the moment of conscious decision on which face is preferred. We also found some activity patterns which are possibly related to positive first impression effect."

Does this mean that brain decides first and tells us later?

Bhattacharya remarked, "This is a tricky question which troubles both neuroscientists and philosophers alike. We cannot prove from the current study that this is indeed the case, but there is ample evidence that we are not fully aware of the constituent brain processes leading to a conscious decision. The real challenge is to predict the final conscious decision based on these pre-conscious neural activity patterns on trial by trial basis and in real-time."

Other researchers involved with the study, published in the journal NeuroImage, are Job Lindsen and Rhiannon Jones from Goldsmiths, University of London and Shinsuke Shimojo from California Institute of Technology, USA.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Lindsen JP, Jones R, Shimojo S, Bhattacharya J. Neural components underlying subjective preferential decision making. NeuroImage, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.01.079

Cite This Page:

University of Goldsmiths London. "Brain waves show patterns for deciding which faces we prefer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100210165037.htm>.
University of Goldsmiths London. (2010, February 11). Brain waves show patterns for deciding which faces we prefer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100210165037.htm
University of Goldsmiths London. "Brain waves show patterns for deciding which faces we prefer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100210165037.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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