Neuroimaging of person perception: A social-visual interface

Jeffrey A. Brooks, Jonathan B. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The visual system is able to extract an enormous amount of socially relevant information from the face, including social categories, personality traits, and emotion. While facial features may be directly tied to certain perceptions, emerging research suggests that top-down social cognitive factors (e.g., stereotypes, social-conceptual knowledge, prejudice) considerably influence and shape the perceptual process. The rapid integration of higher-order social cognitive processes into visual perception can give rise to systematic biases in face perception and may potentially act as a mediating factor for intergroup behavioral and evaluative biases. Drawing on neuroimaging evidence, we review the ways that top-down social cognitive factors shape visual perception of facial features. This emerging work in social and affective neuroscience builds upon work on predictive coding and perceptual priors in cognitive neuroscience and visual cognition, suggesting domain-general mechanisms that underlie a social-visual interface through which social cognition affects visual perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-43
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience letters
StatePublished - Feb 6 2019


  • Anterior temporal lobe
  • Emotion perception
  • Face processing
  • Fusiform cortex
  • Neuroimaging
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Social perception
  • Stereotypes
  • Top–down effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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