Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Enhanced facial threat detection in elite warriors

Ross et al show that Navy SEALS, compared with a male control group, show more focused neural and performance tuning: greater neural processing resources are directed toward threat stimuli (angry faces), while processing resources are conserved when facing a nonthreatening stimul (fearful or happy faces).
Irrespective of the target emotion, elite warfighters relative to comparison subjects showed relatively greater right-sided insula, but attenuated left-sided insula, activation. Navy SEALs showed selectively greater activation to angry target faces relative to fearful or happy target faces bilaterally in the insula. This was not accounted for by contrasting positive versus negative emotions. Finally, these individuals also showed slower response latencies to fearful and happy target faces than did comparison subjects.

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