Dr Adrian Williams, Brunel University
"Symmetry: Are faces that special?"
Abstract: The visual system is highly adept at extracting bilateral symmetry and recent neuroimaging studies have demonstrated specialised extrastriate areas sensitive to symmetry. In the case of facial symmetry, there have been proposals that implicate additional higher-level areas - a specialization that could reflect evolutionary pressures associated with the role of facial symmetry in mate choice. In this talk, I will review the evidence to date and present some preliminary behavioural data that supports the notion that different mechanisms exist for facial symmetry. I will also describe a pilot neuroimaging experiment which isolates sensitivity to facial symmetry and suggests an alternative locus of sensitivity to that proposed.