Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Innovative technique gives vision researchers insight into how people recognize faces

Date:
March 16, 2011
Source:
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Summary:
Scientists have used an original approach -- a method that "shakes" the brain gently and repeatedly by making an image appear and disappear at a constant rate -- to evaluate its sensitivity to perceiving facial identity. The technique is called steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP).

It is no surprise to scientists that the largest social network on the web is called Facebook. Identifying people by their face is fundamental to our social interactions, one of the primary reasons vision researchers are trying to find out how our brain processes facial identity.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Vision, scientists used an original approach -- a method that "shakes" the brain gently and repeatedly by making an image appear and disappear at a constant rate -- to evaluate its sensitivity to perceiving facial identity. The technique is called steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP).

"If we measure global human brain activity when one face is viewed, it cannot be differentiated from brain activity when another face is viewed," said author Bruno Rossion, PhD, a researcher at the Institute of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, Universitι Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. "This is why we relied on a method in which brain activity is compared between repetition of the same face and the presentation of different faces in succession."

During the experiment, 12 participants were presented with a series of faces appearing at a frequency of 3.5 faces per second. The result showed the brain signal at that specific frequency only was much larger when a sequence of different faces was presented at that rate than when an identical face was repeated.

The research team was positively surprised by the resulting large size of the difference between the two conditions, obtained only after one minute and a half of testing, and was equally astonished that the difference in conditions did not exist when the faces were inverted. The study also confirmed that the region for face perception lies primarily in the posterior part of the brain's right hemisphere.

The ability to recognize a face is a common problem in cases of sudden onset of posterior brain damage, neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer disease and other forms of dementia and social disorders such as autism. Rossion points out that an advantage of using this highly sensitive SSVEP methods is that it can be used and compared objectively in different human populations -- adults, infants, children, neurological patients, people with long-life face recognition impairments or autism -- without requiring complex instructions and a long testing duration.

"Face recognition involves the most complex aspects of perception and memory and, for this reason, understanding how it works has large-scale implication," Rossion adds. "Ultimately, through a better understanding of this function, we will make tremendous progress in our understanding of how the brain works in general, develop tools to detect its dysfunction and hopefully help remedy it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. Rossion, A. Boremanse. Robust sensitivity to facial identity in the right human occipito-temporal cortex as revealed by steady-state visual-evoked potentials. Journal of Vision, 2011; 11 (2): 16 DOI: 10.1167/11.2.16

Cite This Page:

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. "Innovative technique gives vision researchers insight into how people recognize faces." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316171231.htm>.
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. (2011, March 16). Innovative technique gives vision researchers insight into how people recognize faces. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316171231.htm
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. "Innovative technique gives vision researchers insight into how people recognize faces." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316171231.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
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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

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