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Why Does Our Brain Choose To Focus On Some Faces More


Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have identified a part of brain that recognizes objects and control visual processing.  This new study explained why brain chooses to identify and remember some facts and faces better over others. A part of prefrontal cortex, called inferior frontal junction (IFJ), controls visual identification and image formation says neuroscientists.
Dr. Robert Desimone suggests that brain recognizes two types of attention, object and spatial based mechanisms. Less information is available on object based attention, however spatial attention focuses on particular location and activities happening around it. The prefrontal cortex is involved in both cases that control the brain’s attention and relevant parts which perceives sensory inputs. The inferior frontal junction processes faces through fusiform face area (FFA) and information on places are recognized through para hippocampal place area (PPA).

The inferior frontal junction is brain’s working memory that remembers simple tasks like phone numbers while dialing, or assembling information during a math problem. The IFJ has previously been known for its cognitive ability. The participants were studied from their magnetoencephalography (MEG), to view the overlapping images of faces and houses.

In this study the subjects were made to visualize two images per second and 1.5 images per second. They were overlapping streams of both house and faces and the respond to two stimuli were picked up in the imaging studies. The researchers had frequency tagged the response to each stimulus.  Different signals are generated in response to different brain activity. Since response to house and face images use the same spot in brain, scientist could analyze the communication among centers.

On seeing faces, activity in the FFA and the IFJ became synchronized among participants, suggesting that they were communicating with each other. When the subjects paid attention to houses, the IFJ synchronized with PPA instead. This study has helped researchers believe that the IFJ recognizes some objects better than the rest. The reason why brains remember certain faces better is now a scientifically proven study.

More Info: MIT News

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