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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

How Brains Automatically Find Images of Faces, or Close

How is that we so readily and unintentionally find images of "faces" in clouds, tree bark and myriad other locations? Some of the answers are explained in a new paper from MIT – highlighted in ScienceDaily. In short, brain scans indicate that one part of the brain seems to have a specialty in making the initial observation, and a different portion of the brain makes a final decision on whether it’s really a human face. Set out below is a key excerpt from ScienceDaily.

"A new study from Sinha and his colleagues reveals the brain activity that underlies our ability to make that distinction. On the left side of the brain, the fusiform gyrus — an area long associated with face recognition — carefully calculates how "facelike" an image is. The right fusiform gyrus then appears to use that information to make a quick, categorical decision of whether the object is, indeed, a face.

This distribution of labor is one of the first known examples of the left and right sides of the brain taking on different roles in high-level visual-processing tasks, Sinha says, although hemispheric differences have been seen in other brain functions, most notably language and spatial perception."

To this layman, the study explains some of the mechanics behind the conclusions set out in Thinking Fast & Slow, a fascinating book to consider as to trial work and other aspects of life.

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