Teenage youngsters around the world are rapidly evolving their communication habits with peers. This modern form of communications bypasses the 70,000 years of gene-culture coevolution that developed our syntatic cultural innovations from early man. Recent evidence has shown that the brain goes through a remodelling process during adolescence. It is possible that neural plasticity facilitates the development of social cognitive skills required during the period of adolescence. Human communication is informed by gestures, voice intonation, and significantly by facial expression. Non-verbal communication signals enable important aspects of trust between those in a dialog. Without these feedback signals the only basis for trust is previous interactions that proved to be reliable. The greater the anonymity technology allows, the more insidious the behavior of participants is likely to be. It is possible that we are evolving a new generation of humans that will be differentiated by an emergent epigenetic predisposition for communiction networks inconsistent with our current culture; to the extent that these future generations will not have the social cognitive skills to relate to previous generations with the trust needed for mature social interaction.
Changes in social behaviour are driven by both social and biological factors. During adolescence, it is likely that peer interactions and societal influences as well as genetically determined hormonal milieu influence social behaviour. However, since the recent discovery that the brain matures considerably during adolescence, evidence has emerged pointing to the role of neural maturation in the development of social cognition during adolescence.
Cell-phone texting has become the preferred channel of basic communication between teens and their friends, and cell calling is a close second. Some 75% of 12-17 year-olds now own cell phones, up from 45% in 2004. Those phones have become indispensable tools in teen communication patterns. Fully 72% of all teens2 – or 88% of teen cell phone users — are text-messagers. That is a sharp rise from the 51% of teens who were texters in 2006. More than half of teens (54%) are daily texters.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers at the University of Glasgow have discovered that it takes the brain just 200 milliseconds to gather most of the information it needs from a facial expression to determine a person’s emotional state.
The study, led by Prof Phillipe Schyns, Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging within the Department of Psychology, showed that the brain starts by looking at the eyes then zooming out to process the whole face before zooming back in to examine specific diagnostic features - such as eyes open wide in fear, or a smiling mouth.
The researchers believe the results show that facial expressions and the ability to decipher them co-evolved in the brain.
Prof Schyns said: “Facial expressions and the interpretation of them are a fundamental part of human communication and our study has revealed how the brain uses facial details in order to make crucial social judgements.
“Our study suggests that facial expressions co-evolved with the brain - the former to be deciphered, the latter to decipher. With time-resolved brain data, we reveal both how the brain uses different expressive features and how long it takes to process enough information for the critical social judgements we take for granted.”