Brain systems for assessing the affective value of faces

  title={Brain systems for assessing the affective value of faces},
  author={Christopher P. Said and James V. Haxby and Alexander Todorov},
  journal={Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences},
  pages={1660 - 1670}
Cognitive neuroscience research on facial expression recognition and face evaluation has proliferated over the past 15 years. Nevertheless, large questions remain unanswered. In this overview, we discuss the current understanding in the field, and describe what is known and what remains unknown. In §2, we describe three types of behavioural evidence that the perception of traits in neutral faces is related to the perception of facial expressions, and may rely on the same mechanisms. In §3, we… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

The role of the amygdala in face perception and evaluation
  • A. Todorov
  • Biology, Psychology
    Motivation and emotion
  • 2012
It is argued that faces automatically evoke responses not only in these regions but also in the amygdala, and one of the functions of the amygdala is to bias attention to atypical faces, which are associated with higher uncertainty.
The social evaluation of faces: a meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies.
A meta-analytic technique, multi-level kernel density analysis (MKDA), is used to analyze 29 neuroimaging studies on face evaluation and proposes a ventral/dorsal dissociation within the amygdala, wherein separate populations of neurons code for face valence and intensity.
Social perception of faces: Neuropsychological and behavioural investigations
This thesis concerns theoretical and empirical issues in face processing and facial trait perception. First, I present evidence that challenges two hypotheses proposed as alternatives to face
Human brain structure predicts individual differences in preconscious evaluation of facial dominance and trustworthiness
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 precons Consciousness processing.
Robust Selectivity for Faces in the Human Amygdala in the Absence of Expressions
A large-scale group analysis of fMRI data from 215 participants found equally robust and reliable responses to faces in the amygdala, suggesting that the amygdala should be considered a core face-selective region.
Below and beyond the recognition of emotional facial expressions in alcohol dependence: from basic perception to social cognition
Since the efficient decoding of emotions is a crucial ability for the development and maintenance of satisfactory interpersonal relationships, it is suggested that disruption of this ability in alcohol-dependent individuals may have adverse consequences for their social integration.
Response of face-selective brain regions to trustworthiness and gender of faces
Beyond emotions: A meta-analysis of neural response within face processing system in social anxiety
The findings show that altered neural response to face in SAD is not limited to emotional structures but involves a complex network, suggesting that a dysfunctional face perception process may bias patient person-to-person interactions.


The role of the amygdala in implicit evaluation of emotionally neutral faces.
It is shown that the extent to which the amygdala responds to variations of faces on specific dimensions is a function of the valence content of these dimensions, and that the amygdala modulates a face responsive network of regions in occipital and temporal cortices.
Neural structures associated with recognition of facial expressions of basic emotions
The results support the hypotheses derived from neuropsychological findings, that recognition of disgust, fear and anger is based on separate neural systems, and that the output of these systems converges on frontal regions for further information processing.
The human amygdala in social judgment
This investigation into the hypothesis that the human amygdala is required for accurate social judgments of other individuals on the basis of their facial appearance finds three subjects with complete bilateral amygdala damage to judge faces of unfamiliar people with respect to two attributes important in real-life social encounters: approachability and trustworthiness.
Distributed representations of dynamic facial expressions in the superior temporal sulcus.
Targeted high-resolution fMRI measurements of the lateral cortex and multivoxel pattern analysis show that the response to seven categories of dynamic facial expressions can be decoded in both the posterior and anterior superior temporal sulcus, suggesting that distributed representations in the pSTS could underlie the perception of facial expressions.
The distributed human neural system for face perception
Common Neural Mechanisms for the Evaluation of Facial Trustworthiness and Emotional Expressions as Revealed by Behavioral Adaptation
It is found that adapting to angry or happy facial expressions causes trustworthiness evaluations of subsequently rated neutral faces to increase or decrease, respectively, and a common neural system is engaged during the evaluation of facial trustworthiness and expressions of anger and happiness.
Reading trustworthiness in faces without recognizing faces
We show that developmental prosopagnosics with severe impairments in both memory for faces and perception of facial identity can make normal trustworthiness judgements of novel faces. We tested four
Organization and functions of cells responsive to faces in the temporal cortex.
The selectivity for view suggests that the neural operations underlying face or head recognition rely on parallel analyses of different characteristic views of the head, the outputs of these view-specific analyses being subsequently combined to support view-independent (object-centred) recognition.