Friday, April 16, 2021

Is you brain controlling your face shape and behavior?

Turns out our brains might have even more control over us than we think. Based on a study led by LU Leuven and Stanford, our brain might be controlling more than our movements but our personalities and behaviors. They identified over 76 overlapping genetic locations that shape both our faces and brain, which can easily debunk several persistent pseudoscientific claims related to our face and what it says about us. Although there were already suspicions of this link, this thought was purely based on model organism researches and clinical knowledge of extremely rare conditions. Joint senior for this study, Professor Peter Claes said it all began when they, “set out to map the genetic link between individuals’ face and brain shape much more broadly, and for commonly occurring genetic variation in the larger, non-clinical population. In these previous studies, we analyzed 3D images of faces and linked several data points on these faces to genetic information to find correlations.”

For this newfound discovery, they relied on previous studies that provided them with 20,000 MRI brain scans and genetic information. The focus was placed "on variations in the folded external surface of the brain," this allowed for the identification of 472 genomic locations that have shaped our brains; meanwhile, 76 of these genomic locations are linked to the face shape.

Fortunately, by them doing further research on this genetic link, they discovered there was no genetic link with behavior or neuropsychiatric disorders. "Our results confirm that there is no genetic evidence for a link between someone’s face and that individual’s behavior. Therefore, we explicitly dissociate ourselves from pseudoscientific claims to the contrary. For instance, some people claim that they can detect aggressive tendencies in faces by means of artificial intelligence. Not only are such projects completely unethical, but they also lack a scientific foundation," Professor Claes clarifies. This is a very interesting study. Our brain is already so powerful, to think that it'll be strong enough to have such a genetic hold on us would honestly be very surprising.


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