Color Plays Robust Role in Reading Faces
Anyone who has ever sensed that a person is sick simply by looking at their face has experienced the wealth of information conveyed by face color. A new study by NEI provides evidence that the human brain’s visual system is especially sensitive to the color of faces compared to the colors of other objects or things. Study results were published July 8 in Nature Communications.
“The findings underscore the complexity of color perception,” said study lead investigator Dr. Bevil Conway, head of NEI’s unit on sensation, cognition and action. “Far from operating as a reflex, color perception involves a set of sophisticated brain operations that ultimately assign value and meaning to what we see.”
The findings also suggest that social communication cues from faces factored into evolutionary selective pressures that gave rise to trichromatic color vision in our ancestors 23 million years ago.