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Human brain structure predicts individual differences in preconscious evaluation of facial dominance and trustworthiness.

Getov, S; Kanai, R; Bahrami, B; Rees, G; (2014) Human brain structure predicts individual differences in preconscious evaluation of facial dominance and trustworthiness. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci , 10 (5) pp. 690-699. 10.1093/scan/nsu103. Green open access

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Abstract

Social cues conveyed by the human face, such as eye gaze direction, are evaluated even before they are consciously perceived. While there is substantial individual variability in such evaluation, its neural basis is unknown. Here we asked whether individual differences in preconscious evaluation of social face traits were associated with local variability in brain structure. Adult human participants (n = 36) monocularly viewed faces varying in dominance and trustworthiness, which were suppressed from awareness by a dynamic noise pattern shown to the other eye. The time taken for faces to emerge from suppression and become visible (t2e) was used as a measure of potency in competing for visual awareness. Both dominant and untrustworthy faces resulted in slower t2e than neutral faces, with substantial individual variability in these effects. Individual differences in t2e were correlated with gray matter volume in right insula for dominant faces, and with gray matter volume in medial prefrontal cortex, right temporoparietal junction and bilateral fusiform face area for untrustworthy faces. Thus, individual differences in preconscious social processing can be predicted from local brain structure, and separable correlates for facial dominance and untrustworthiness suggest distinct mechanisms of preconscious processing.

Type: Article
Title: Human brain structure predicts individual differences in preconscious evaluation of facial dominance and trustworthiness.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsu103
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsu103
Additional information: © The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: awareness, continuous flash suppression, dominance, trustworthiness, voxel-based morphometry
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1447463
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