First Impressions

Woman Looking up at Man - Agree to Disagree: Men and Women - Humintell

We’ve always been toldDon’t judge a book by its cover, but in fact research shows that, that is exactly what our brains are programmed to do.

LiveScience comments on new findings that identify which facial features influence how others first perceive a person.  Are you perceived as trustworthy, attractive, dominant? Scientists purport that these judgments are formed with in milliseconds of seeing a person’s face.

This kind of research can help determine what facial expressions would help give the best first impressions.

Study co-author Tom Hartley, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychologist at the University of York in England, noted that previous research found that the many different judgments characterizing first impressions tend to fall along three underlying dimensions.  One is approachability — do they want to help me or to harm me? The next is dominance — can they help or harm me? The last is youthful-attractiveness — perhaps representing whether they would be a good romantic partner or rival.

Unfortunately, many people take their judgments from first impressions and run with them whether they are true reflections of the person’s character or not. Even though we know that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or a person by their face, we all have.

Hartley pointed out that  it is very useful to know how your being judged (accurately and not) by your appearance especially in instances of court cases, or elections.

For this study, Hartley and his colleagues had participants rate their first impression of 1,000 photographs taken  from the internet.  They rated them on traits such as attractiveness, trustworthiness, and dominance.  The faces used were further broken down by the researchers into 65 features from jaw and  mouth shape to eyebrow shape.

An artificial intelligence software was used to analyze these features and their first impression ratings.  “Our results suggest that some of the features that are associated with first impressions are linked to changeable properties of the face or setting that are specific to a given image. Hartley went on to note that 

We know that people process faces of other ethnicities differently from their own — this might be because of cultural stereotypes, but also more subtle things such as the level of experience we have with different kinds of variation in the face.  As it’s not practical to incorporate faces and judges from every possible geographic, cultural and ethnic background, we instead try to keep these factors fixed by focusing on one ethnic and cultural group at a time. We can then investigate the ways in which different groups rely on different facial features and perhaps reach different social judgments in a step-by-step way.

Mouth shape and area were linked to approachability; a smiling expression is a key component of an impression of approachability.  Attractiveness was judged by the eye shape and area; large eyes were closely linked to a youthful appearance. Dominance had features indicating a masculine face shape, such as eyebrow height, cheekbones, as well as color and texture differences that may relate to either masculinity or a healthy or tanned overall appearance.

Share Your Love, Spend Some Time

A reminder that Love and Happiness are a product of the time you spend with the ones you love AND who love you! 

 One of the best gifts in life that you give to your family…is TIME

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Reading Our Brain’s Emotional Code

w-liedectector   “We discovered that fine-grained patterns of neural activity within the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with emotional processing, act as a neural code which captures an individual’s subjective feeling,

purported Adam Anderson, associate professor of human development in Cornell University’s  College of Human Ecology and senior author of the study, “Population coding of affect across stimuli, modalities and individuals,” which was  published online June 22 in Nature Neuroscience.

This STUDY noted that even though feelings are subjective, our brains turn our emotions into a standard code that objectively represents emotions across different senses, situations and even people

Researchers presented 16 participants with a series of images and tastes and analyzed their brains responses to these subjective experiences via functional neuroimaging.  This specialized neuroimaging technology, representational similarity analysis, is able to analyze a the spatial patterns of a person’s brain activity across populations of neurons rather than the traditional approach of assessing activation magnitude in specialized regions.

It appears that the human brain generates a special code for the entire valence spectrum of pleasant-to-unpleasant, good-to-bad feelings, which can be read like a ‘neural valence meter’ in which the leaning of a population of neurons in one direction equals positive feeling and the leaning in the other direction equals negative feeling, Anderson explains.

The study was atypically small, but the authors noted that the representation of our internal subjective experience is not confined to specialized emotional centers.

The findings showed that similar subjective feelings – whether evoked from the eye or tongue – resulted in a similar pattern of activity in the OFC, suggesting the brain contains an emotion code common across distinct experiences of pleasure (or displeasure), they say. Furthermore, these OFC activity patterns of positive and negative experiences were partly shared across people.

Despite how personal our feelings feel, the evidence suggests our brains use a standard code to speak the same emotional language, Anderson concluded.


FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

FBILEBHumintell is proud to be frequent contributors to the nation’s premier law enforcement publication, the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.

Since 1935, The FBI has provided information on current law enforcement issues and research in the field to the larger policing community through this publication. Today, the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin remains one of the most widely read law enforcement-related publications in the world. It is distributed to law enforcement administrators in more than 105 countries and has an estimated readership of over 200,000 criminal justice professionals each month.

To view past articles featuring Humintell, please click the appropriate links below.

Evaluating Truthfulness and Detecting Deception

The Role of Violence in Predicting Violence

Reading People: Behavioral Anomalies and Investigative Interviewing

Genuine Sadness or Posed Grief? Gerard Baden-Clay

The story of murdered mother Allison Baden-Clay has gripped Australia for the past several months.

Allison’s husband Gerard Baden-Clay was accused and convicted of killing his wife Allison at their home in the affluent western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, and dumping her body on the banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead about 14 kilometres away.

In his only television interview since the day she disappeared, Gerard pleaded for his wife’s return.

Take a look at the video below. What do you see? What do you not see? Is this posed grief or genuine sadness? What influences your opinion?

For more on the Baden-Clay story, visit this page

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