Judgments of trustworthiness from faces determine basic approach/ avoidance responses and approximate the valence evaluation of faces that runs across multiple person judgments. Here, based on trustworthiness judgments and using a computer model for face representation, we built a model for representing face trustworthiness (study 1). Using this model, we generated novel faces with an increased range of trustworthiness and used these faces as stimuli in a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study (study 2). Although participants did not engage in explicit evaluation of the faces, the amygdala response changed as a function of face trustworthiness. An area in the right amygdala showed a negative linear response - as the untrustworthiness of faces increased so did the amygdala response. Areas in the left and right putamen, the latter area extended into the anterior insula, showed a similar negative linear response. The response in the left amygdala was quadratic - strongest for faces on both extremes of the trustworthiness dimension. The medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus also showed a quadratic response, but their response was strongest to faces in the middle range of the trustworthiness dimension.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Person perception
- Trust worthiness