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Science

The brain recognizes its own face faster and activates a “Narcissus effect”

Madrid / A team of Spanish neuroscientists has discovered through facial recognition experiments that the brain is able to recognize its own face more quickly than others and that it retains attention in a kind of “Narcissus effect”.

Researchers Elisabet Alzueta, María Melcón and Almudena Capilla, from the Cognitive Neuroscience group at the Autonomous University of Madrid, devised in collaboration with Ole Jensen, from the group of neural oscillations at the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom) a study to find out what mechanisms Cognitive factors are activated in the brain when a person perceives his own face.

As reported by the Autonomous University, the study participants had to perform a facial recognition task in which they had to identify their face, that of a friend and that of a stranger as quickly as possible.

Simultaneously, the response times and brain activity of the participants were recorded by means of an electroencephalography (EEG) system, to subsequently determine at what time and in what manner the examinations occurred.

The results, which have been published in the journal NeuroImage, show two fundamental findings: that there is an advantage in self-recognition (the face itself, compared to others, is recognized more quickly), and that this can be attributed to the start-up of a series of attention mechanisms that operate rapidly in our brain.

Self-recognition and attention retention of what is perceived

Experiments have shown that once the face itself is recognized, the brain has the ability to capture attention and retain it longer compared to other faces.

The study shows that at the brain level the face itself is not just another familiar face, but is processed in a “unique” way in the brain, and they have indicated that, as in the myth of Narcissus, whose protagonist is trapped by his own reflection, the face itself captures and retains the attention of the perceiver.

Although the concept of the “ego” has been widely studied throughout history, in recent years – driven by the rise of neuroimaging techniques – this study has gained relevance due to the relationship it seems to have with various psychiatric and neurological pathologies.

The “bias towards the self”

In healthy people, it has been proven that the information related to oneself is processed in the brain as a priority; it is what is called the “bias towards the self”.

However, this bias may be accentuated or reduced in patients suffering from psychiatric illnesses, such as depression or schizophrenia.

In the case of depression, for example, a link has been established between hyperfocalization in oneself and “rumination”, a depressive symptom that appears when the focus of attention is “hooked” on a thought or element, real or imaginary, which produces great discomfort.

This work therefore opens, according to the researchers, new doors to the study of the “ego” from neuropsychiatric research, and can help us understand, for example, if a malfunction of the attention mechanisms could be behind this “rumination ”In people with a depressive pathology.

It also opens new questions in the field of psychology and social neuroscience, since, according to the researchers, it would be interesting to know to what extent this “bias towards the self”, which the study in healthy people shows, is related to certain behaviors ” self-oriented ”, like selfies, very typical of today’s society. (June 16, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)

(Automatic translation)

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Question 1
Principalmente, en el texto se habla...
A
de algunas enfermedades como la depresión y la esquizofrenia.
B
de un estudio sobre cómo el cerebro reconoce su propio rostro.
C
del mito de Narciso.
Question 2
Según el estudio, el cerebro...
A
tarda lo mismo en reconocer su propio rostro que el del resto de personas.
B
reconoce con mayor rapidez su propio rostro que el de los demás.
C
reconoce antes el rostro de otras personas que el suyo propio.
Question 3
En el texto se dice que...
A
el mito de Narciso no tiene nada que ver con este estudio.
B
el rostro de una persona es capaz de captar y retener la atención cuando es percibido por su propio cerebro.
C
los científicos desmintieron que el cerebro pueda retener la imagen de su rostro cuando este lo percibe.
Question 4
Según el texto...
A
se descarta que las personas que padecen depresión puedan tener algún tipo de alteración en el "sesgo hacia el yo".
B
estos hallazgos van a permitir que se abran nuevas vías de investigación del estudio del yo.
C
se ve poco probable que este estudio abra nuevas vías de investigación relacionadas con el yo.
Question 5
Tras ver el vídeo entendemos que...
A
el comisario de esa muestra opina que la identidad de una persona gira alrededor del cerebro.
B
Ramón y Cajal no realizó ningún tipo de estudio que estuviera relacionado con el cerebro.
C
el cerebro no es tan complejo como se pensaba.
Question 6
En el texto "fuese" es una forma del...
A
pretérito imperfecto del subjuntivo del verbo ser.
B
pretérito imperfecto del subjuntivo del verbo ir.
C
futuro simple del subjuntivo del verbo ser.
Question 7
El término 'facial' está relacionado con...
A
el rostro.
B
las manos.
C
los pies.
Question 8
Una "patología" es...
A
una enfermedad.
B
una cura.
C
un alivio.
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