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Faces convey a multitude of information in social interaction, among which are trustworthiness and attractiveness. Humans process and evaluate these two dimensions very quickly due to their great adaptive importance. Trustworthiness evaluation is crucial for modulating behavior toward strangers; attractiveness evaluation is a crucial factor for mate selection, possibly providing cues for reproductive success. As both dimensions rapidly guide social behavior, this study tests the hypothesis that both judgments may be subserved by overlapping brain networks. To this end, we conducted an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis on 16 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies pertaining to facial judgments of trustworthiness and attractiveness. Throughout combined, individual, and conjunction analyses on those two facial judgments, we observed consistent maxima in the amygdala which corroborates our initial hypothesis. This finding supports the contemporary paradigm shift extending the amygdala's role from dominantly processing negative emotional stimuli to processing socially relevant ones. We speculate that the amygdala filters sensory information with evolutionarily conserved relevance. Our data suggest that such a role includes not only "fight-or-flight" decisions but also social behaviors with longer term pay-off schedules, e.g., trustworthiness and attractiveness evaluation.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Brain structure & function
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A quantitative method of combining the results of independent studies (usually drawn from the published literature) and synthesizing summaries and conclusions which may be used to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness, plan new studies, etc., with application chiefly in the areas of research and medicine.
Severe or complete loss of facial muscle motor function. This condition may result from central or peripheral lesions. Damage to CNS motor pathways from the cerebral cortex to the facial nuclei in the pons leads to facial weakness that generally spares the forehead muscles. FACIAL NERVE DISEASES generally results in generalized hemifacial weakness. NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION DISEASES and MUSCULAR DISEASES may also cause facial paralysis or paresis.
Pain in the facial region including orofacial pain and craniofacial pain. Associated conditions include local inflammatory and neoplastic disorders and neuralgic syndromes involving the trigeminal, facial, and glossopharyngeal nerves. Conditions which feature recurrent or persistent facial pain as the primary manifestation of disease are referred to as FACIAL PAIN SYNDROMES.
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