The Genius of Recognizing a Familiar Face

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July 16, 2021 -- That flash of familiarity we consciousness erstwhile we spot idiosyncratic we cognize has agelong fascinated and stumped scientists, who person been incapable to pinpoint what is happening successful the brain. But for the archetypal time, researchers are now reporting a caller people of cells they accidental is responsible.

The find goes against the prevailing knowing successful neuroscience that divers areas of the brain indispensable pass with each different to process information. Instead, this survey shows that 1 portion of the encephalon appears to beryllium operating for the sole intent of identifying radical we know.

It was thought that a azygous encephalon compartment -- called the grandma neuron, due to the fact that of its quality to place acquainted faces, similar a person's grandmother's -- would beryllium discovered, but that has yet to happen.

The occupation is truthful entrenched successful neuroscience that elder writer Winrich Freiwald, PhD, a prof of neurosciences and behaviour astatine the Rockefeller University successful New York City, says that erstwhile 1 idiosyncratic wants to ridicule another's argument, they disregard it arsenic "just different grandma neuron," oregon unproven theory.

Now, successful an obscure and understudied country of the brain, Freiwald says they person recovered the closest happening to a grandma neuron successful cells susceptible of linking look cognition to memory.

The Grandmother of Cells

For their study, Freiwald and his colleagues recorded electrical signals from neurons successful the brains of 2 rhesus monkeys arsenic they were shown photos of faces; immoderate of the radical they knew, and immoderate of the radical they did not.

The squad showed that neurons successful the little beforehand of the brain, the temporal pole, play a relation successful the recognition of acquainted faces and the quality to archer the quality betwixt known and caller faces.

In fact, neuronal responses were 3 times stronger for faces of radical the monkeys were personally acquainted with than for faces of those they did not know, adjacent if they had seen those faces aggregate times connected screens.

This could constituent to the value of knowing idiosyncratic successful person, the researchers explain. Given the inclination nowadays to interact virtually, we indispensable beryllium alert that faces we person seen connected a surface mightiness not evoke the aforesaid neuronal enactment arsenic faces we conscionable successful person.

With this information, scientists tin commencement to analyse however these encephalon cells encode acquainted faces. The researchers accidental they tin present inquire however this portion is connected to the different parts of the encephalon and what happens erstwhile a caller look appears.

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