Friday, February 10, 2012

To Face or Not to Face

Did you know that the human brain almost never mistakes an object that may look like a face (e.g., New Hampshire's Old Man of the Mountain) for a human face? Facial recognition results from your two brain hemispheres working together. fMRI studies at MIT have shown that the left hemisphere calculates how facelike an image is. Then the right hemisphere uses that information to decide whether the object is, indeed, a human face. Although hemispheric differences have been seen in other brain functions such as language and spatial perception, according to the researchers, this distribution of labor is one of the first known examples of the left and right hemispheres taking on different roles in high-level visual-processing tasks.

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