What is it, exactly, that stops us from being completely seduced by the increasingly impressive modeling of virtual faces in videogames? A new study from MIT says that wariness toward facial recognition might be caused by competing impulses on different sides of the brain:
The neuroscientists found different activity patterns on each side of the brain. On the left, the activity patterns changed very gradually as images became more like faces and there was no clear distinction between faces and non-faces. The left side would flare if someone was looking at a human or an eerily face-like formation of rocks.
But on the right side, activation patterns in the fusiform gyrus were completely different between genuine human faces and face-like optical illusions. There was no fooling the right side of the brain, no matter how much they resembled a face.
So basically the left side, as one researcher put is, “does the initial heavy lifting,” while the right side ultimately makes the call. But with recent improvements in facial modeling (such as L.A. Noire), will game developers ultimately be able to trick the right side of the brain entirely?