Different fusiform activity to stranger and personally familiar faces in shy and social adults Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Although shyness is associated with deficits in different aspects of face processing including face recognition and facial emotions, we know relatively little about the neural correlates of face processing among individuals who are shy. Here we show reduced activation to stranger faces among shy adults in a key brain area involved in face processing. Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging scans were acquired on 12 shy and 12 social young adults during the rapid presentation of stranger and personally familiar neutral faces. Shy adults exhibited significantly less bilateral activation in the fusiform face area (FFA) in response to stranger faces and significantly greater bilateral activation in the same region to personally familiar faces than their social counterparts. Shy adults also exhibited significantly greater right amygdala activation in response to stranger faces than social adults. Among social adults, stranger faces elicited greater FFA activation than personally familiar faces. Findings suggest that there are distinct patterns of neural activation in the FFA in response to viewing stranger and personally familiar faces among shy and social adults.

publication date

  • August 2009