simplified face recognition and brain waves, photo of face, brain sections and gamma and theta waves

When it comes to faces, context matters

New study sheds light on underlying effects of visual settings on brain processing and facial perception

How we perceive faces depends on the context, but why is that?

Humans experience this phenomenon daily. We look at hundreds of faces and make a judgment.

Portrait photo of UC Davis neurology professor

Until recently, we had little knowledge of how our brain computes signals to skew our interpretation of faces. However, a recent study involving UC Davis Health researchers has identified the brain mechanisms that play a role in how we connect outside contexts to facial recognition and perceptions. Previous research has shown that memories of our daily experiences influence the context of a place or event.

We perceive a person as a possible arsonist if their face is seen alongside a burning building. But putting that same face on a beach or next to a dog makes it more likely that the face will be perceived as friendly and happy." — Jack J. Lin, professor of neurology, director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, and Center for Mind and Brain faculty member

Read the full article at UC Davis Health.

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