Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Innovative technique gives vision researchers insight into how people recognize faces

17.03.2011
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, Université 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.”

ARVO’s Journal of Vision (www.journalofvision.org) is an online-only, peer-reviewed, open-access publication devoted to visual function in humans and animals. It explores topics such as spatial vision, perception, low vision, color vision and more, spanning the fields of neuroscience, psychology and psychophysics. JOV is known for hands-on datasets and models that users can manipulate online.

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include more than 12,500 eye and vision researchers from over 80 countries. ARVO encourages and assists research, training, publication and knowledge-sharing in vision and ophthalmology.

Katrina Norfleet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.arvo.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>