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    Emoticons Now Recognized as a Face by Human Brains

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    The first documented use of an emoticon was in a Carnegie Mellon University general board by computer scientist Scott Fahlman in the year 1982. According to recent study from researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, computer generated smiley face emoticons trigger the same part of our brain as a human face.

    The first documented use of an emoticon was in a Carnegie Mellon University general board by computer scientist Scott Fahlman in the year 1982.

    According to recent study from researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, computer generated smiley face emoticons trigger the same part of our brain as a human face.

    Researchers showed 20 study subjects a series of images including pictures of real human faces, a jumble of computer characters, and smiley face emoticons that had a colon for eyes, a dash for a nose and a closed parentheses for a mouth, along with inverted versions of the same images.

    The electrical activity in the subjects’ brains was measured using electrophysiology as they viewed the images.

    The results show that brain activity was the same when subjects saw a human face regardless of orientation, as well as when an emoticon was shown in standard configuration with the colon eyes to the left, but not when it was inverted.

    Doctor Owen Churches who led the study is quoted as saying: “Before 1982 there would be no reason that a smiley face emoticon would activate face sensitive areas of the cortex, but now it does because we've learnt that this represents a face. This is an entirely culturally-created neural response.”

    The researchers didn’t include any other emoticons in their study.