Amygdala Responsivity to High-Level Social Information from Unseen Faces

Previous research shows that the amygdala automatically responds to a face’s trustworthiness when a face is clearly visible. However, it
is unclear whether the amygdala could evaluate such high-level facial information without a face being consciously perceived. Using a
backward masking paradigm, we demonstrate in two functional neuroimaging experiments that the human amygdala is sensitive to
subliminal variation in facial trustworthiness. Regions in the amygdala tracked how untrustworthy a face appeared (i.e., negative-linear
responses) as well as the overall strength of a face’s trustworthiness signal (i.e., nonlinear responses), despite faces not being subjectively
seen. This tracking was robust across blocked and event-related designs and both real and computer-generated faces. The findings
demonstrate that the amygdala can be influenced by even high-level facial information before that information is consciously perceived,
suggesting that the amygdala’s processing of social cues in the absence of awareness may be more extensive than previously described.


Credits to :

Jonathan B. Freeman / Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York; Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Ryan M. Stolier / Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York; Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Zachary A. Ingbretsen / Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Eric A. Hehman / Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York; Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire


Read the paper: Amygdala Responsivity to High-Level Social Information from Unseen Faces

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of