Social judgments from faces

Alexander Todorov, Peter Mende-Siedlecki, Ron Dotsch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


People make rapid and consequential social judgments from minimal (non-emotional) facial cues. There has been rapid progress in identifying the perceptual basis of these judgments using data-driven, computational models. In contrast, our understanding of the neural underpinnings of these judgments is rather limited. Meta-analyses of neuroimaging studies find a wide range of seemingly inconsistent responses in the amygdala that co-vary with social judgments from faces. Guided by computational models of social judgments, these responses can be accounted by positing that the amygdala (and posterior face selective regions) tracks face typicality. Atypical faces, whether positively or negatively evaluated, elicit stronger responses in the amygdala. We conclude with the promise of data-driven methods for modeling neural responses to social judgments from faces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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