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Meta-Analysis
. 2011 Jan;215(3-4):209-23.
doi: 10.1007/s00429-010-0287-4. Epub 2010 Oct 27.

ALE Meta-Analysis on Facial Judgments of Trustworthiness and Attractiveness

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Free PMC article
Meta-Analysis

ALE Meta-Analysis on Facial Judgments of Trustworthiness and Attractiveness

D Bzdok et al. Brain Struct Funct. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

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.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Significant meta-analysis results displayed on the frontal, left and bottom surface view of the MNI single subject template for a the main effect of facial assessment, b facial judgments of trustworthiness, c facial judgments of attractiveness, and d conjunction analysis of both facial judgments
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
One coronal sections through the T1-weighted MNI single subject template at y = −6 in anatomical MNI space. Using the SPM Anatomy toolbox, the resulting maxima in the amygdala have been mapped onto the superficial nuclei group across all analyses of the Trustworthiness and Attractiveness categories

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