New article by Anna Eiserbeck, Martin Maier, Julia Baum & Rasha Abdel Rahman:
Deepfake smiles matter less—the psychological and neural impact of presumed AI-generated faces
High-quality AI-generated portraits (“deepfakes”) are becoming increasingly prevalent. Understanding the responses they evoke in perceivers is crucial in assessing their societal implications. Here we investigate the impact of the belief that depicted persons are real or deepfakes on psychological and neural measures of human face perception. Using EEG, we tracked participants’ (N = 30) brain responses to real faces showing positive, neutral, and negative expressions, after being informed that they are either real or fake. Smiling faces marked as fake appeared less positive, as reflected in expression ratings, and induced slower evaluations. Whereas presumed real smiles elicited canonical emotion effects with differences relative to neutral faces in the P1 and N170 components (markers of early visual perception) and in the EPN component (indicative of reflexive emotional processing), presumed deepfake smiles showed none of these effects. Additionally, only smiles presumed as fake showed enhanced LPP activity compared to neutral faces, suggesting more effortful evaluation. Negative expressions induced typical emotion effects, whether considered real or fake. Our findings demonstrate a dampening effect on perceptual, emotional, and evaluative processing of presumed deepfake smiles, but not angry expressions, adding new specificity to the debate on the societal impact of AI-generated content.
We went to see Barbie at Filmtheater at Friedrichshain. Everyone understood the assignment.
New review article by Anna Kuhlen and Rasha Abdel Rahman:
Beyond speaking: neurocognitive perspectives on language production in social interaction
The human faculty to speak has evolved, so has been argued, for communicating with others and for engaging in social interactions. Hence the human cognitive system should be equipped to address the demands that social interaction places on the language production system. These demands include the need to coordinate speaking with listening, the need to integrate own (verbal) actions with the interlocutor’s actions, and the need to adapt language flexibly to the interlocutor and the social context. In order to meet these demands, core processes of language production are supported by cognitive processes that enable interpersonal coordination and social cognition. To fully understand the cognitive architecture and its neural implementation enabling humans to speak in social interaction, our understanding of how humans produce language needs to be connected to our understanding of how humans gain insights into other people’s mental states and coordinate in social interaction. This article reviews theories and neurocognitive experiments that make this connection and can contribute to advancing our understanding of speaking in social interaction.
Starting in May, Kathi will give a Tai Chi course in Adlershof for all members and friends of the lab.
Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese martial art. Because of the way it is practised, it is an excellent connector between effective physical training and meditative practice. Due to its simple application, it can be trained by everyone and almost anywhere.
Although Tai Chi is a practice of individual development, it is originally practised in families, in other words, it is a communal martial art. Individual progress is group progress, the coordination and postural improvement of everyone in the same movement creates a third entity, the better us. It is a space during the week that connects us as a group doing something that also benefits the health of each member.
If you are interested in joining the group, please get in touch with Katherine Fernández.
A massive congratulations to Julia Baum who was a runner up for this year’s Adlershof Dissertation Prize. On February 14, 2023, the Adlershof Dissertation Prize was awarded for the 21st time. Julia had been shortlisted for the prize and presented her work to the judges at an event hosted in Erwin Schrödinger-Zentrum in Adlershof. Her doctoral thesis “Emotional content in social misinformation affects mind, brain, and judgments” is extremely timely and has powerful implications for how we deal with misinformation and questionable sources. Fantastic work, Julia!
Congratulations from our lab also go out to Dr. Jannes Münchmeyer, whose doctoral thesis on early warnings for earthquakes won this year, as well as Dr. Dominique Lungwitz, another runner up.
Waking up to 0 degrees and grey skies makes us think back to this wonderful summer meet-up in Brandenburg. Soon, spring will be here and we will be sitting outside during lunchs in Adlershof and surely there will be many get togethers when the temperatures are high and the days are long. We miss you, summer!
We congratulate Julia Baum to her successful defence of her doctoral thesis! In her thesis entitled “Emotional content in social misinformation affects mind, brain, and judgments”, Julia revealed the powerful extend to which social-emotional information affects how we see and judge people, even against our better knowledge of lacking credibility.
In her dissertation, Julia investigated the cognitive and brain mechanisms underlying the processing of social, person-related misinformation or “gossip”. In three studies, participants were exposed to trustworthy or untrustworthy news about other persons and the information was either negative, positive, or relatively neutral. She examined different indicators of trustworthiness and veracity. In study 1, the information was verbally marked as untrustworthy by adding e.g., “allegedly”, “supposedly” or “some claim” (in German: “angeblich”, “vermutlich” or “manche behaupten”). In study 2, news stemmed from well-known media sources perceived as trustworthy or untrustworthy. Results across both studies showed that social person judgments strongly relied on the emotional content independent of the trustworthiness, showing how social misinformation affects person evaluation even when it is perceived as untrustworthy. Electrophysiological indexes of early emotional and arousal-related processes, as well as correlates of later evaluative processing were enhanced for persons associated with emotional news regardless of the trustworthiness of the information. This shows the pronounced influence of emotional contents not only on the initial and early response to news, but even on processes that were expected to evaluate the information on merit of its credibility. In a first attempt to intervene, Julia asked participants to explicitly evaluated the credibility of the source before reading the headlines in study 3. This helped to overcome the bias for positive news and process its credibility to some degree, as reflected in reduced emotional responses in the brain. However, the insight into the lack of credibility had no influence on the effects of negative news on brain responses and social judgments.
Julia’s dissertation has shown the powerful impact misinformation can have at the level of the brain and individual judgments. Emotional messages and gossip do not simply bounce off if we find the information untrustworthy. The strong influence of emotions on our thoughts and actions against our better judgment also explains why “fake news” is so “successful”. These findings reveal central keys that are crucial to now develop strategies that protect us from the harmful effects of misinformation.
Longing for beauty is something we all do. In our collaboration with the Neuköllner Oper, we had the wonderful opportunity to reason about how beauty relates to the research we do in the lab while sitting in a beautiful rebuilt oriental garden in the Gärten der Welt and listening to enchanting music. We were invited to participate in the “Wunderkammer“ to discuss and experience different aspects of the concept of beauty. Prof. Rasha Abdel Rahman shared a neurocognitive perspective on perception and beauty and succeeded in making the audience share the wonder about how human brains perceive the world which motivates us to do our research every day. Together with Bernhard Glocksin from Neuköllner Oper, Prof. Walter Sommerfeld from the University of Marburg, and the musicians Luise Enzian, Tehila Nini-Goldstein, and Kaan Bulak, she discussed how beauty can be part of human relationships with each other, society and nature. Above all, we were honoured to be part of this extraordinary blend of archaeology, history, psychology, and music.
For more information on the Wunderkammer project and upcoming events visit the Neuköllner Oper.