My left brain and me: a dissociation in the perception of self and others
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
We investigated hemispheric asymmetries in face processing using a task in which participants judged the likeness of chimeric faces to their own face and to the face of a close friend based on their memory for those faces. When asked to choose which of two mirror-symmetric images (one made from the left half and one from the right half of a photograph of their face) looked more like themselves as remembered, participants showed a significant bias for the composite corresponding to the half face that lies in their right visual field when they look at themselves in the mirror. They showed the opposite bias when asked to make the same choice for images of a close friend, that is, they showed a significant bias for the composite corresponding to the half face that lies in their left visual field when they look at their friend. This result shows that in the case of these highly familiar faces—self and friend—the perceptual asymmetry is preserved in the memory representation. Assuming that people remember their own face as a mirror-image, the data also suggest a dissociation in face processing such that the left brain is dominant for the recognition of self and the right brain is dominant for the recognition of others.