They then recorded the activity of individual cells in the face patches in response to the artificial faces and found that the cells do indeed respond to contrasts between facial features. Ohayon and his colleagues later studied the cells’ response to images of real faces and found that, again, responses increased with the number of contrast-defined features. Tsao, Freiwald, and their colleagues had found earlier that cells in the face patches respond selectively to the shape of
some facial features, such as noses and eyes (Tsao et al., 2008). Ohayon’s findings now showed that this selective response depends on luminance relative to other parts of the face. Most of the cells they studied respond both selleck kinase inhibitor to contrast and to the shape of facial features, which leads us to an important conclusion: contrast is useful for face detection, and shape is useful for face recognition. These studies have shed new light on the nature of the templates the brain uses to detect faces. Behavioral studies suggest a powerful link between the brain’s face detection machinery and the areas Selleck Akt inhibitor of the brain that control attention, which may account for why faces—and particularly portraits—draw our attention so strongly. When psychoanalysis emerged from Vienna early in the twentieth century, it represented a revolutionary way of thinking about the human mind and its disorders. The excitement
surrounding the theory of unconscious mental processes increased as psychoanalysis was brought
to the United States by immigrants from Germany and Austria. Under the influence of psychoanalysis, psychiatry was transformed in the decades following World War II from an experimental medical discipline closely related to neurology into a nonempirical specialty focused on psychotherapy. In the 1950s academic psychiatry abandoned some of its roots in biology and experimental medicine and gradually became a therapeutic discipline based on psychoanalytic theory. Over the next 50 years, psychoanalysis exhausted much of its novel investigative power. It also failed to submit its assumptions to the sort of rigorous tests that are needed to inspire confidence. Indeed, it was far better at generating ideas than at testing them. Fortunately, some people in the psychoanalytic community thought that first empirical research was essential to the future of the discipline. Because of them, two trends have gained momentum in the last several decades. One is the insistence on evidence-based psychotherapy; the other is an effort to align psychoanalysis with the emerging biology of mind. Perhaps the most important driving force for evidence-based therapy has been Aaron Beck, a psychoanalyst at the University of Pennsylvania. Whereas traditional psychoanalysis teaches that mental problems arise from unconscious conflicts, Beck became convinced that conscious thought processes also play a role in mental disorders.