The amygdala is known to play an important role in the response to facial expressions that convey fear. However, it remains unclear whether the amygdala’s response to fear reflects its role in the interpretation of danger and threat, or whether it is to some extent activated by all facial expressions of emotion. Previous attempts to address this issue using neuroimaging have been confounded by differences in the use of control stimuli across studies. Here, we address this issue using a block design functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm, in which we compared the response to face images posing expressions of fear, anger, happiness, disgust and sadness with a range of control conditions. The responses in the amygdala to different facial expressions were compared with the responses to a non-face condition (buildings), to mildly happy faces and to neutral faces. Results showed that only fear and anger elicited significantly greater responses compared with the control conditions involving faces. Overall, these findings are consistent with the role of the amygdala in processing threat, rather than in the processing of all facial expressions of emotion, and demonstrate the critical importance of the choice of comparison condition to the pattern of results.
Blushing has been identified as an indicator of deception, shame, anxiety and embarrassment. Although normally associated with the skin coloration of the face, a blush response also affects skin surface temperature. In this paper, an approach to detect a blush response automatically is presented using the Argus P7225 thermal camera from e2v. The algorithm was tested on a sample population of 51 subjects, while using visual stimuli to elicit a response, and achieved recognition rates of ~77% TPR and ~60% TNR, indicating a thermal image sensor is the prospective device to pick up subtle temperature change synchronised with stimuli.
We report a cross-cultural study designed to investigate crossmodal correspondences between a variety of visual features (11 colors, 15 shapes, and 2 textures) and the five basic taste terms (bitter, salty, sour, sweet, and umami). A total of 452 participants from China, India, Malaysia, and the USA viewed color patches, shapes, and textures online and had to choose the taste term that best matched the image and then rate their confidence in their choice. Across the four groups of participants, the results revealed a number of crossmodal correspondences between certain colors/shapes and bitter, sour, and sweet tastes. Crossmodal correspondences were also documented between the color white and smooth/rough textures on the one hand and the salt taste on the other. Cross-cultural differences were observed in the correspondences between certain colors, shapes, and one of the textures and the taste terms. The taste-patterns shown by the participants from the four countries tested in the present study are quite different from one another, and these differences cannot easily be attributed merely to whether a country is Eastern or Western. These findings therefore highlight the impact of cultural background on crossmodal correspondences. As such, they raise a number of interesting questions regarding the neural mechanisms underlying crossmodal correspondences.
Our human visual system exploits spatiotemporal regularity to interpret incoming visual signals. With a dynamic stimulus sequence of four collinear bars (predictors) appearing consecutively toward the fovea, followed by a target bar with varying contrasts, we have previously found that this predictable spatiotemporal stimulus structure enhances target detection performance and its underlying neural process starts in the primary visual cortex (area V1). However, the relative contribution of V1 lateral and feedback connections in the processing of spatiotemporal regularity remains unclear. In this study we measured human contrast detection of a briefly presented foveal target that was embedded in a dynamic collinear predictor-target sequence. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to selectively disrupt V1 horizontal and feedback connections in the processing of predictors. The coil was positioned over a cortical location corresponding to the location of the last predictor prior to target onset. Single-pulse TMS at an intensity of 10% below phosphene thresholdwas delivered at 20 or 90ms after the predictor onset. Our analysis revealed that the delivery of TMS at both time windows equally reduced, but did not abolish, the facilitation effect of the predictors on target detection. Furthermore, if the predictors’ ordination was randomized to suppress V1 lateral connections, the TMS disruption was significantly more evident at 20ms than at 90-ms time window. We suggest that both lateral and feedback connections contribute to the encoding of spatiotemporal regularity in V1. These findings develop understanding of how our visual system exploits spatiotemporal regularity to facilitate the efficiency of visual perception.
A behavioural advantage is found across a wide range of stimuli when two targets are presented in opposite hemifields compared with those targets being presented together in one hemifield, or one target being presented alone. This advantage for responses to multiple targets versus a single target is often termed redundancy gain. Here we report on the findings of two experiments investigating redundancy gain in binocular rivalry. Experiment 1 presented a rival pair in one hemifield with an additional image presented to both eyes in the opposite hemifield. There was a weak effect of this stable image on the perceived dominance of the images within the rival pair. Experiment 2 presented a second rival pair in either the same or opposite hemifield and showed that instances of joint predominance were greater when the two pairs were presented in opposite hemifields than within the same hemifield. Therefore, the findings suggest that redundancy gain may be extended to stimuli presented under binocular rivalry conditions.
This study investigated whether training-related improvements in facial expression categorization are facilitated by spontaneous changes in gaze behaviour in adults and nine-year old children. Four sessions of a self-paced, free-viewing training task required participants to categorize happy, sad and fear expressions with varying intensities. No instructions about eye movements were given. Eye-movements were recorded in the first and fourth training session. New faces were introduced in session four to establish transfer-effects of learning. Adults focused most on the eyes in all sessions and increased expression categorization accuracy after training coincided with a strengthening of this eye-bias in gaze allocation. In children, training-related behavioural improvements coincided with an overall shift in gaze-focus towards the eyes (resulting in more adult-like gaze-distributions) and towards the mouth for happy faces in the second fixation. Gaze-distributions were not influenced by the expression intensity or by the introduction of new faces. It was proposed that training enhanced the use of a uniform, predominantly eyes-biased, gaze strategy in children in order to optimise extraction of relevant cues for discrimination between subtle facial expressions.
Photographs of 50 women were rated for attractiveness, health, and fertility recorded by four sets of participants—Rural-Chinese (n = 50), Chinese participants in Hong Kong (n = 50), Chinese participants living in the United Kingdom (n = 50), and participants self-identifying as “Caucasian” living in the United Kingdom. The results suggest that a polynomial function of Body Mass Index (kg/m2) is the best predictor of all three judgments in all four observer groups. In contrast, shape cues, such as the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), seem to play a relatively small role. Shape cues do consistently account for a greater proportion of the variance in all three Chinese groups than for the Caucasian participants, implying a greater role for shape in
the Chinese participants’ judgments. This result may reflect the competing pressures between the healthy range for shape and body mass in the Chinese populations versus the role of visual diet in influencing body preferences in different cultural environments.
Humans, great apes and old world monkeys show selective attention to faces depending on conspecificity, familiarity, and social status supporting the view that primates share similar face processing mechanisms. Although many studies have been done on face scanning strategy in monkeys and humans, the mechanisms influencing viewing preference have received little attention. To determine how face categories influence viewing preference in humans and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), we performed two eye-tracking experiments using a visual preference task whereby pairs of faces from different species were presented simultaneously. The results indicated that viewing time was significantly influenced by the pairing of the face categories. Humans showed a strong bias towards an own-race face in an Asian–Caucasian condition. Rhesus macaques directed more attention towards non-human primate faces when they were paired with human faces, regardless of the species. When rhesus faces were paired with faces from Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) or chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), the novel species’ faces attracted more
attention. These results indicate that monkeys’ viewing preferences, as assessed by a visual preference task, are modulated by several factors, species and dominance being the most
Colors and odors are associated; for instance, people typically match the smell of strawberries to the color pink or red. These associations are forms of crossmodal correspondences. Recently, there has been discussion about the extent to which these correspondences arise for structural reasons (i.e., an inherent mapping between color and odor), statistical reasons (i.e., covariance in experience), and/or semantically-mediated reasons (i.e., stemming from language). The present study probed this question by testing color-odor correspondences in 6 different cultural groups (Dutch, Netherlands-residing-Chinese, German, Malay, Malaysian-Chinese, and US residents), using the same set of 14 odors and asking participants to make congruent and incongruent color choices for each odor. We found consistent patterns in color choices for each odor within each culture, showing that participants were making non-random color-odor matches. We used representational dissimilarity analysis to probe for variations in the patterns of color-odor associations across cultures; we found that US and German participants had the most similar patterns of associations, followed by German and Malay participants. The largest group differences were between Malay and Netherlands-resident Chinese participants and between Dutch and Malaysian-Chinese participants. We conclude that culture plays a role in color-odor crossmodal associations, which likely arise, at least in part, through experience.
Women use cosmetics to enhance their attractiveness. How successful they are in doing so remains unknown–how do men and women respond to cosmetics use in terms of attractiveness? There are a variety of miscalibrations where attractiveness is concerned–often, what one sex thinks the opposite sex finds attractive is incorrect. Here, we investigated observer perceptions about attractiveness and cosmetics, as well as their understanding of what others would find attractive. We used computer graphic techniques to allow observers to vary the amount of cosmetics applied to a series of female faces. We asked observers to optimize attractiveness for themselves, for what they thought women in general would prefer, and what they thought men in general would prefer. We found that men and women agree on the amount of cosmetics they find attractive, but overestimate the preferences of women and, when considering the preferences of men, overestimate even more. We also find that models’ self-applied cosmetics are far in excess of individual preferences. These findings suggest that attractiveness perceptions with cosmetics are a form of pluralistic ignorance, whereby women tailor their cosmetics use to an inaccurate perception of others’ preferences. These findings also highlight further miscalibrations of attractiveness ideals.