Neurons programmed to fire at specific faces may have more affect on conscious recognition of faces than the images themselves, neuroscientists have found.
Subjects presented with a blended face, such as an amalgamation of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, had significantly more firing of such face-specific neurons when they recognized the blended or morphed face as one person or the other.
Results of the study led by Christof Koch at the Allen Institute for Brain Science were published (open access) online in the journal Neuron.
Some neurons in the region of the brain known as the medial temporal lobe are observed to be extremely selective in the stimuli they respond to. A cell may only fire in response to different pictures of a particular person who is very familiar to the subject (such as loved one or a celebrity, as in the famous “Jennifer Aniston neuron“), the person’s written or spoken name, or recalling the person ...