Already Charles Darwin investigated facial expressions of monkeys in order to find out how closely related humans and monkeys really are.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics have now shown that rhesus monkeys and humans employ the same strategies to process faces of conspecifics: both species look first at the eyes of conspecifics, whereas for non-conspecific faces they let their gaze wander over the whole face. This means that for both species during evolution the same perceptual mechanisms have developed in the brain. It must have therefore been adventitious also for our next of kin to process faces of conspecifics with a dedicated perceptual strategy. (Current Biology, Feb 26th, 2009)
In the study, faces of the two species were shown to both monkey and human observers while their eye movements were being recorded. The faces were presented both "normally" and upside-down. It is a well-known effect in perceptual psychology that upside-down faces are hard to recognize as the usual face processing mechanisms cease to work. In addition, we know that gaze is attracted to the eyes for "normally" shown faces. These two facts can therefore be used to uncover different processing strategies: many fixations on an eye region are a tell-tale sign of "normal" face processing.
The study has shown that this processing strategy in monkeys only holds for monkey faces, whereas in humans it only holds for human faces - even though the two species share rather similar facial features (eyes, nose, mouth). In addition, the recorded eye movements of both species were exactly the same for non-conspecific faces as for upside-down faces: in both cases fixations moved away from the eyes to other parts of the face.
Monkeys are therefore experts for monkey faces and humans experts for human faces. "The surprising finding is that in addition the perceptual strategies for processing conspecific faces are exactly the same. Humans and monkeys are therefore even more similar than previously thought," said Christoph Dahl, one of the two main authors of the study.
Christoph D. Dahl, Christian Wallraven, Heinrich H. Bülthoff & Nikos K. Logothetis: Humans and macaques employ similar face-processing strategies. Current Biology (2009), doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.01.061
Dr. Susanne Diederich | Max-Planck-Institut
Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System
Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences