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Happy days: Human brain now registers smiley face emoticon as real facial expression

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posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 10:40 AM
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The human brain has adapted to react to emoticons in the same way we would to expressions on real human faces, new research suggests.

Having first appeared in the 1980s, the pattern of brain activity triggered by looking at an emoticon smiley face is now the same as when someone sees a real smiling human face, scientists from the school of psychology at Australia's Flinders University in Adelaide said.

Happy days: Human brain now registers smiley face emoticon as real facial expression


"There is no innate neural response to emoticons that babies are born with. Before 1982 there would be no reason that ':-)' would activate face sensitive areas of the cortex but now it does because we've learnt that this represents a face," Dr Owen Churches told ABC News.

"This is an entirely culturally-created neural response. It's really quite amazing."


While this news was unexpected, i hardly find it surprising. Our brains are known to adapt to certain principles and behaviours, and i think this is an example of what we are seeing. I do find it disappointing though, that the human brain has adapted to perceiving an emoticon in the same way it does with a human face.

What is of an interesting note though, is that humans only react equally to the symbol ':-)' and it's counterpart '
'. The symbol '(:' or '(-:' does not have the same affect upon humans as the prior emoticons.

I would like to see the same tests conducted in Eastern countries though, such as Japan. I hear that their emoticons are different to those used in the West, so i am expecting the results to be similar, but adapted to fit their cultural acceptance of emoticons.

Interesting stuff nonetheless!
edit on 9-2-2014 by daaskapital because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 11:04 AM
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I usually use
not (: does that count?

edit: I see...(not used to these new ats emoticons)
edit on 9-2-2014 by smilesmcgee because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by daaskapital
 


Evolution has ways of twisting around and eating its own tail. The Happy Face image now is registered by the brain the same as a smiling face, so I wonder how it's adapted to those McDonald arches, or the last scene in the original "Carrie". Egads, will future generations's brains accept Justin Bieber as a real singer? Boggles the mind.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 01:45 PM
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I think that's pretty cool.



CX

posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 01:52 PM
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Would explain the uproar that ensued when ATS dared to change the smileys, like the new ones weren't as "real" or convincing as the old ones.

Reminded me of a documentary where men who kept so called state of the art sex dolls at home and were arguing over what fake doll was the best.


Get out of the damn house and smile at someone...it is infectious and catches on believe it or not...when the day comes when we are talking about punctuation marks as people...it has to be a dark one.

CX.



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 01:54 PM
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reply to post by daaskapital
 


Pretty cool. Thanks for sharing that.

Now the next question might be, can this trait be passed down the line through genetic memory? Maybe we can get a member to move into the wilds and raise their young ones in a hut completely cut off from technology. Then when they're say 18 years old show them a smiley and see if it has any effect.

Anyone up for a long term project?



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 02:52 PM
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reply to post by Bassago
 

You bring up a good question.....
I'm leaning towards yes actually ( not volunteering for your experiment tho
) because of few different reasons I believe.

There is the cherry blossom experiment done with mice.
Phobias have been hypothesized to be a genetic mechanism to alert us of things that may harm us or our groups.
The feeling of disgusting or scary may be a response to avoid things that our ancestors learned were bad.
So through many ( and I think many ) generations with the right influences I think that we could registrar physical and physiological responses from symbols that may be unfamiliar to an unexposed individual.

Humans almost always react to music they enjoy the same way.... we dance. Great great great great grandma really knew how to get down



posted on Feb, 9 2014 @ 03:19 PM
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reply to post by daaskapital
 


Very interesting - a "culturally-created neural response." ...Anyone else here see the similarity between emoticons and petroglyphs?


F&S



posted on Feb, 10 2014 @ 05:28 AM
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Makes a lot of sense actually. When the old (new) smileys came in, I hated them. Then they changed to
and I was all "
"

If they change them again I guess I'd have to arrange some more neurons. Of which, I don't have that many left… so…




posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 07:21 AM
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Interesting, but doesn't really surprise me all that much. This can easily be explained by pareidolia.



posted on Feb, 11 2014 @ 07:26 AM
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Aleister
reply to post by daaskapital
 


Evolution has ways of twisting around and eating its own tail. The Happy Face image now is registered by the brain the same as a smiling face, so I wonder how it's adapted to those McDonald arches, or the last scene in the original "Carrie". Egads, will future generations's brains accept Justin Bieber as a real singer? Boggles the mind.


This has nothing to do with Evolution. Just saying.



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