Whether its the look of love, happiness, or the look of fear, humans use facial expressions to communicate important information to one another. But which parts of the brain read these cues, and how do they do it? A paper in this weeks Nature by a group of international scientists, including Professor Philippe Schyns from the University of Glasgow, offers new insights into how we recognize fear in peoples eyes.
The study focuses on a case study of a 38-year-old woman with rare bilateral damage to her amygdala - an almond-shape part of the brain in the temporal lobe. Unusually, she is completely unable to recognize fear from facial expressions - this deficit though can be rescued by instructing her to concentrate her attention on the persons eyes. The researchers found, however, that the woman (named SM in the study) only succeeded in directing her gaze to the eye regions of facial images when given explicit reminders.
SM’s problem is that although she can physically see facial features, she can’t recognise the emotion of fear. SMs impairment stems from an inability to make normal use of information from the eye region within faces when judging emotions, although she can read emotions from the mouth. Her selective impairment in recognizing fear is explained by the fact that that the eyes are the most important feature for identifying fear. However, the subject’s recognition of fearful faces became entirely normal when she was instructed to look at the eyes.
Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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