There is a direct structural connection consisting of fibre pathways between voice and face recognition areas in the human brain, researchers have discovered.
The exchange of information, which is assumed to take place between these areas via this connection, could help us to quickly identify familiar people in everyday situations and also under adverse conditions, said researchers at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
"We now assume that areas in the brain which are involved in voice and face recognition interact directly and influence each other," said Helen Blank, a member of Max Planck research group.
Blank had located the areas responsible for voice and face recognition in her study participants by measuring the reactions of the brain to different voices and faces using magnetic resonance imaging.
"It is particularly interesting that the face recognition area appears to be more strongly connected with the areas involved in voice identification, despite the fact that these areas are further away than areas which process information from voices on a more general level," stated the researcher.
This direct connection in our brains could be used in everyday contexts to simulate the faces of our conversation partners, e.g. when we speak on the telephone to a familiar person.