Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Here's looking at you, fellow!

27.02.2009
Humans and monkeys are experts in face recognition making them even more akin than previously thought.

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.

Original publication

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

Contact

Christoph Dahl
Phone: +49 (0) 7071-601-1677
e-mail: christoph.dahl@tuebingen.mpg.de
Christian Wallraven
Phone: +49 (0) 7071-601-1717
e-mail: christian.wallraven@tuebingen.mpg.de
Susanne Diederich (Public Relations Office)
Phone: +49 (0) 7071-601-333
e-mail: presse@tuebingen.mpg.de
The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics works in the elucidation of cognitive processes. It employs about 325 people from more than 40 countries and is located at the Max Planck Campus in Tübingen, Germany. The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics is one of 79 research institutes that the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science maintains in Germany.

Dr. Susanne Diederich | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.tuebingen.mpg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides
16.07.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in
16.07.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>