Scientists May Have Cracked The Code On How We’re So Good At Recognizing Faces
The researchers studied the parts of the brain that are triggered by aspects of a face, and were able to map out a predicted picture of the person based on just looking at those cells that lit up.
The New York Times:
You Look Familiar. Now Scientists Know Why.
The brain has an amazing capacity for recognizing faces. It can identify a face in a few thousandths of a second, form a first impression of its owner and retain the memory for decades. Central to these abilities is a longstanding puzzle: how the image of a face is encoded by the brain. Two Caltech biologists, Le Chang and Doris Y. Tsao, reported in Thursday’s issue of Cell that they have deciphered the code of how faces are recognized. (Wade, 6/1)
Primates Recognize Faces Instantly Using Specialized Neurons
In macaque monkeys, which share humans' skill with faces, groups of specialized neurons in the brain called face cells appeared to divide up the task of assessing a face, a team at the California Institute of Technology reports Thursday in the journal Cell. "The cells were coding faces in a very simple way," says Doris Tsao, an author of the study and a professor of biology at Caltech. "Each neuron was coding a different aspect of the face." (Hamilton, 6/1)