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Processing an Avatar's Facial Colour

Researchers at Toyohashi University of Technology have discovered that the human bain processes the colour of a face separately to the features of that face. This is an interesting development, especially when placed in the context of crafting personalised avatar forms for AI sales agents and other interactive AI in virtual space.

We have long known that the face is the most important component to human interaction. It is the part we spend most time looking at, and the part with the widest array of expressive actions. The hands also have a wide range of expressions, but the face does come first. As such, how the face appears will influence the instinctual reactions of the person interacting with it's wearer.

Shigeki Nakauchi and colleagues conducted an experiment by selectively modifying the face colour of eight volunteers, and then playing via video-feed, the modified volunteer faces to other volunteers whose reactions were monitored by EEG.

Brain activity from face processing is commonly known as the N170 event related potential, and occurs in both hemispheres of the brain, when a human-like face is detected. However, of particular interest in this case was that when the colour was changed and nothing else, a N170 signal was detected – but only in the left posterior section of the brain.

This is the first direct evidence we have, that different aspects of the face are processed by different parts of the brain. More than that, it gives us a possible way to detect reactions to a particular face, and customise different aspects of it on the fly, to make it more likeable to the target individual.

This would of course be a potent tool for targeted advertising and VR-based sales pitches

Modulation of the left hemisphere of the brain by facial colour



The N170: understanding the time course of face perception

Facial color is processed in the left hemisphere of the brain

The face-selective N170 component is modulated by facial color

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