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Bubbagumpredditor t1_j8eaj72 wrote

Makes sense that you would have this programmed at the subconscious level. If Todd is suddenly terrified because he saw a cave bear sneaking up on you you want your body to react NOW


epsilona01 t1_j8g9hvh wrote

I was in a very dangerous crowd crush many years ago. You saw it in people's faces first, then you could smell the fear. It's the sound of wrist's breaking that stays with you (don't hang on to people's hands).

I suspect they'll find a pheromonal component eventually, because the only time I've experienced the same smell since was at Waterloo Station on the morning of the 7/7 bombings. We all knew something was wrong, but at that moment no one knew it was a terror attack, but fear was in the air.

Unrelated, but the life lesson from the crowd crush was this. You can save you and one other person, that's it. Once I'd got the friend I was with off the floor and out of the crush, and turned around to help more people, we both just got sucked back in. Pick your person and get out.


Evrimnn13 t1_j8gi9w2 wrote

Can you describe the smell?


epsilona01 t1_j8gjrzh wrote

Not particularly well, it's like a particularly sharp/sour body odour. Not the kind you get from extended sweating or not washing, but the moment you do smell it, you're fully alert. I assume there is purpose in that.

In Edinburgh, I'd put it down to the sheer number of people. As I looked back on the hole in the crowd where the railings had collapsed once I was away, you could see steam pouring from it as if it was on fire.

The moment I got off the train at Waterloo and it hit me and I knew for certain something was very wrong.


extropia t1_j8hvdtz wrote

That is really fascinating, especially the part where you describe the alertness it triggers. Anecdotally it does feel like the sweating that happens when one is suddenly scared/anxious seems different, like it suddenly starts seeping out of you without any of the physical work it 'normally' requires to produce.


Topic_Professional t1_j8idwxq wrote

I smelled it too after a violent robbery at the business I worked at in my early 20s. The only thing I can compare it too aside from body odor is the fishy smell when a dog needs to have their anal glands expressed, although the fear smell wasn’t as fishy awful as the dog.


Chris-1235 t1_j8en0iw wrote

Why is the term "invisible" used so casually and without qualification in this study? My understanding is that it means "not consciously perceptible", which is a completely differemt thing that "invisible", in normal parlance.


Feudamonia t1_j8f91jx wrote

It's not completely different. We don't see everything around us ever.

The use of invisible accurately describes our inability to see things the brain decides aren't important.


runawaycluetrain t1_j8fo22i wrote

The appropriate word that should have been used is “imperceptible”, not “invisible”.


Feudamonia t1_j8fqqti wrote

I agree that imperceptible would have been a better choice.


bkydx t1_j8jlim6 wrote

Invisible is the correct term and just means "not perceptible by vision".

Your Amygdala is perceiving the "fear" and aware of the visual stimulus and receiving and relaying information even if your conscious is not aware and the image is not being processed by your visual cortex, so technically imperceptible would be incorrect unless you specify imperceptible by vision which is literally the scientific meaning of "Invisible"


EllieBelly_24 t1_j8q4s4e wrote

But it is perceptable by vision, that's how your amygdala knows to be afraid of it. Maybe something else kicks in afterwards if it's around long enough, not sure, but you'd definitely "see" it, just not consciously


bkydx t1_j8jfm2w wrote

Invisible is the correct term and just means "not perceptible by vision"

Your Amygdala is perceiving the "fear" and aware of the visual stimulus even if your conscious is not aware.


runawaycluetrain t1_j8js05r wrote

Invisible means not in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

This concerns physics, not psychology or neurology.


bkydx t1_j8juijt wrote

Thanks for being extra stupid while trying to sound smart but that isn't true.

X-rays/gamma rays/radio waves are not invisible to humans and they are part of the electromagnetic spectrum.


thissexypoptart t1_j8fetkj wrote

Sure that is true, but “invisible to the eye” is the phrase used here. No, the faces are detected by your eye. Photons hit your retina, engage the signaling cascade leading to your optic nerve firing. Same as any other visual stimulus that results in photons hitting your rods and cones. This would be impossible if the title’s phrasing were correct.

“Invisible to conscious visual processing” would be more accurate. It’s what happens after the signal is passed from your retina to your brain where the invisibility comes in.

Edit: for the record, the authors of the study titled it “Rapid processing of invisible fearful faces in the human amygdala”. So “go complain to the authors of the scientific article” is a pretty silly comment. It’s OP that added “to the eye” to that title.


Feudamonia t1_j8ffe30 wrote

>more accurate

Yes but it's a distinction that isn't necessary. We already know the person has a visible face so by saying invisible the author is accurately and efficiently describing what's happening. That's entirely appropriate communication.


thissexypoptart t1_j8fiof7 wrote

It is necessary. We need to be precise with our language in science. Especially in studies like this, where what is perceivable at which level of processing is the major aspect being explored.

To say a face is just “invisible” would be vague but arguably appropriate since conscious sight involves your brain determining what is actively perceived and what’s processed in the background of consciousness. But “visible to the eye” is different concept altogether. It’s not just vague, but actually false for the headline to describe things that way.

It could just be a case of poorly written headlines choosing concision over accuracy, but imo that’s shouldn’t be acceptable in science journalism when it’s so core to the point being reported on. It’s a pedantic point but this is r/science. Headlines shouldn’t have falsehoods in them.


bkydx t1_j8jh3yc wrote

Invisible is to correct scientific term for an object that is seen and not perceived.

"Not perceptible by vision"

People trying to use what they think it means.

Probably related to Fantasy writing and super heroes and bending light and making things see-through and incorrectly arguing over pedantic details.

The Faces are Invisible and this is not a poor description.


Chris-1235 t1_j8ffbbf wrote

Why would you muddle things like that? Not visible to the eye and not perceptible by the mind are the same only for people who know nothing about how the brain works.

Even if you ignore the subconscious, "Invisible to me", "difficult to see", or "invisible when I look this way" are more appropriate, when you talk about things you fail to perceive, but that are there for others to see, e.g. when zooming in or playing sonethin in slow motion.


Feudamonia t1_j8fg6hi wrote

It's not muddled at all. Communication is about effective and efficient conveying of data. There are two possible interpretations of the title - either the person had an invisible face or their face isn't perceived visually. Which would you think is logical?


Chris-1235 t1_j8firvr wrote

I thought that the title was nonsensical, as was their use of the term, because the face was in fact perceived visually, but not by the conscious mind.


walksineternity t1_j8flt47 wrote

Fully agreed with you on this, the title makes no sense. Invisible means something very specific. Maybe the word should have been unnoticeable?


bkydx t1_j8jkdnl wrote

Invisible is the correct scientific term and should be used.

Your "very" specific understanding of invisible is based of super hero's and television and not what it actually means in science.


Feudamonia t1_j8fjw61 wrote

We can argue the philosophy of when something becomes perceived or just received by neurons but that's a different conversation. The title posed no comprehension issues for me because the only alternative meaning was illogical (because no one has an invisible face).


relbean t1_j8g1yhs wrote

Just because the alternative meaning is illogical in your mind doesn’t mean the description is accurate. Accuracy is important, why wouldn’t you want to be as precise as possible? Especially when discussing scientific topics.

To me “invisible to the eye” means that the absence of sensory perception happens in the end organ of vision, not the areas of the brain that control consciousness. In reality, the information is visible to the eye. It’s an inaccurate title.


Feudamonia t1_j8g6m20 wrote

>Just because the alternative meaning is illogical in your mind doesn’t mean the description is accurate.

Actually it does. Logic or being logical isn't subjective. We know for a fact that people do not have invisible faces.

Invisible to the eye means the quality of being invisible is determined by the eye rather than it being a physical quality of the object the phrase is referencing.

The title is accurate enough to convey its meaning.


relbean t1_j8g9a3x wrote

It is not accurate enough to convey its meaning because its meaning is that the eye did not perceive the stimulus when in reality the eye did perceive the stimulus and the cerebral cortex did not perceive the stimulus. Those are two separate parts of anatomy and in a scientific discussion that distinction matters a great deal.


Feudamonia t1_j8geu9q wrote

>the eye did not perceive the stimulus when in reality the eye did perceive the stimulus and the cerebral cortex did not perceive the stimulus

You're getting confused between sensation and perception. Sensation occurs when sensory receptors detect sensory stimuli. Perception involves the organization, interpretation, and conscious experience of those sensations.


bkydx t1_j8jkmfj wrote

According to science if something is in sight but your brain is not consciously perceiving then it invisible is the correct term.

The people that are arguing against you probably have more knowledge about invisible super heroes then any sort of science.


AadamAtomic t1_j8fmzos wrote

It's a literal word.

In-visible, as in Not visible....

Like In-vincible compared to being vincible.


[deleted] t1_j8i7rkp wrote



AadamAtomic t1_j8i8q6p wrote

>study does not define the threshold between visible and invisible "fear factors"

Indeed it does and even mentions the point of sublimity and consciousness. You either see it, or you don't. It's self explanatory. Visible or invisible.

>nor does it attempt at all to determine at what point those features are indeed visible.

Whenever you consciously notice the features change....again... It's a literal word and self explanatory.


bkydx t1_j8jm6iw wrote

Normal parlance is based off of fiction and fantasy and super heroes has no bearing on scientific meaning.

Invisible is 100% the correct term according to science.

"Not perceptible by vision"

A Hunter standing in front of his prey is considered "invisible" if the prey is not able to process what is about to occur and not because he is bending light around his being.


Chris-1235 t1_j8kh8je wrote

The visual stimulus was 100% perceptible by vision. What other means could have possibly been used to pass that information to the subconscious? 6th sense?

As for the impirtance of "normal parlance", I refer you to Wittgenstein, §43 of Philosophical Investigations: “The meaning of a word is its use in the language"


Wagamaga OP t1_j8e8ck5 wrote

The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped structure deep in the brain, located on the medial surface of the temporal lobe, which processes both positive and negative emotions. Brain scanning studies show that the amygdala is activated in response to fearful faces, even when they are not consciously perceived.

Previous studies did not measure brain activity in real-time, however, and so direct evidence for rapid fear processing in the amygdala was lacking.

A rare opportunity
Yingying Wang of Zhejiang University and her colleagues had the rare opportunity to record neuronal activity directly from the brains of 18 patients undergoing presurgical evaluation for drug-resistant epilepsy.

While neurosurgeons monitored their brain activity to identify the source of debilitating seizures, the researchers implanted microelectrodes into their amygdalae, visual cortices, and various other brain regions, and recorded the responses of individual cells to images of happy, fearful, and neutral facial expressions.

The researchers used low- and high-resolution images of the faces of 96 actors that were rendered invisible by a process called backward masking, in which each image is shown briefly, and then quickly followed by another image of the same color that does not contain a face.

Low-resolution images of fearful faces, but not of happy or neutral ones, evoked rapid cellular responses in the amygdala, but not in the visual cortex or other regions. The earliest responses of amygdala neurons occurred within one-tenth of a second, even though the patients were not consciously aware of having seen the images.


Levainathan t1_j8havvf wrote

Isnt this already well established that the amygdala is the one at work?


TheDefterus t1_j8htkrh wrote

I mean, that's why they looked there. We know it has to do with fear response. We didn't know that it does visual processing that the other mentioned regions don't.


Ok_Skill_1195 t1_j8fdc0o wrote

Tangential but I really really want to know how people can figure out they're being watched just by getting a weird gut feeling. It genuinely seems like magic


bkydx t1_j8jes52 wrote

People cannot tell and are often wrong when they have that gut feeling for no reason.

In This study there is a visible stimulus that triggers the fear and not Magic.


QuestionableAI t1_j8eh4vy wrote

Decades ago, I recall a paper that indicated that women were able to... in a crowd of faces, detect the angry and hostile/dangerous faces/people and the conclusion was, that it was a skill developed by women because angry/hostile/dangerous men were always a serious life threat to women.


acebandaged t1_j8ethw0 wrote

Sorry, wouldn't the math be 10 out of every 100 murders are by an intimate partner, and 7 of those 10 are women?

AKA 7 murders out of every 100 are women killed by an intimate partner


fugee99 t1_j8emxub wrote

The part in the title about being outside of consious awareness is not really accurate to the story. This is happening before the cortex. There's tons of other stuff happening in the cortex that is outside of conscious awareness. It's not that this is unconscious thats interesting, most things are unconscious, its that it happens even before the cortex.


art-man_2018 t1_j8ep7qb wrote

Spider-Sense, tingling... Personally, after living all over in Philadelphia for twenty years, senses have been heightened.


tudy1311 t1_j8etv3f wrote

Try raising your brows to the max and making the biggest eyes at the waiter instead of raising your hand. They'll look a lot quicker usually. Raised hand gets filtered out first if they're busy.


liquid-handsoap t1_j8gysh5 wrote

I have this theory that body language is way older form of communication, evolutionary, than language is.

Because human’s can be so weird and awkward socially compared to how we pick up body language like someone smiling, or in this case frowning of fear, so so easy


Bpbpimajp t1_j8h914k wrote

What do you think verbal language evolved from?


liquid-handsoap t1_j8h9lkb wrote

Well i mean verbal language as words and constructed sentences; so humans.

My point is, our common ancestors communicated with body language way before humans existed. Body language is way older, evolutionary, and therefore more ingrained in instincts.

Sorry for bad english, hope it makes sense


tudy1311 t1_j8ha4ds wrote

My cat has body language, and so do dogs. Bees have dances that can communicate locations of good loot to their brothers.


Laogama t1_j8gzt24 wrote

It’s been known for decades that there is a pathway from the eyes to the amygdala that bypasses the visual cortex.


zulu_candles t1_j8f71h3 wrote

Someone explain it to me, how can the brain process something invisible to the eye?


DecentChanceOfLousy t1_j8gxrgh wrote

It is literally seen by the eye, but it's too fast to consciously register. The images were hidden with backwards masking, meaning they essentially flashed one frame of the tested image then showed a second, different image for a long period of time afterward.


zulu_candles t1_j8hdi04 wrote

So not invisible to the eye, got it thanks


bkydx t1_j8jinuw wrote

Seen by the eye but not perceived by your visual cortex.

Eg. A hunter can stand directly in view of an animal it is hunting and sometimes the animal's brain is unable to process what it is looking at and it will not react to the threat that is in plain sight.

So to the prey, the Hunter is "Invisible" according to Science because the visual input isn't being processed and not because the Hunter is Bending light and becoming see-through.


zulu_candles t1_j8jlp1n wrote

So not invisible to the eye then


bkydx t1_j8joe2m wrote

Invisible is the correct scientific term for when you can see something but not process the information.

So yes it is invisible. "Not perceptible by vision"

Your understanding of what that word means scientifically is what is wrong.

Go back to reading comic books and fiction and stop making up incorrect meanings for words.


artinthebeats t1_j8g5z5e wrote



These are two things you feel without your eyes, built into the body that has different senses.

Apparently, this detection is being processed deep in the brain, in the amygdala.


zulu_candles t1_j8hdgik wrote

Right, get back to me when fearful faces are fundamental forces, because that's obviously what i meant.

How does the amygdala have anything to process if it doesn't come through the eyes


UMPB t1_j8i0s9b wrote

It was just declared the fifth force, fearful faces are what causes the expansion of space in large empty regions because the galaxies are afraid of them


futureshocked2050 t1_j8fxwkp wrote

This is more than likely one of the ways that serial killers, criminals etc seem to have a preternatural ability to just know who to rob/stalk.

I once watched this interview with a serial killer where he talked about being able to identify a potential victim by their *gait*...their walk.

Some people are closer to their 'lizard brain' than normies and it's kind of frightening.


liquid-handsoap t1_j8gyi3h wrote

This is why i walk home as if i was about to mugg someone. I aint, but it looks like it. I try to behave like a predator instead of prey, if that makes sense. Mainly by just walking determined and ready to throw down. Cant really explain


GilligansIslndoPeril t1_j8huo1l wrote

I've worked in Retail long enough to tell a shoplifter from a distance by their gate. They walk like they're not supposed to be there.


Doom_Corp t1_j8gh36s wrote

This article from the Atlantic I read a few weeks ago is pretty fascinating regarding psychopath development in children and how it translates into adulthood (and killers). Psychopathic brains generally cannot recognize fear facial expressions and their pleasure centers are stimulated with reward explicitly but punishments are essentially ignored. People with psychopathic brains have to train themselves into accepting a reward and response system that fits into normal empathetic conventions in order to move through society.


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innominata_name t1_j8evcga wrote

This is the first direct evidence of this in humans. Studies using fMRI have shown this using backward masking already, in the late 90s I think?


AyraLightbringer t1_j8fgyqb wrote

Isn't this not both old news and heavily debated? The argument that we had a hardwired pathway for fear detection is from 2001 or something and people have been arguing against that for just as long.


[deleted] t1_j8fufuw wrote

Seems to me life evolves prioritizing fear .. because that's the highest probability of staying alive that uses the least brain power, so that's how all life evolves at some common level.


I_play_elin t1_j8g5338 wrote

I can't believe neither the link nor the comments have examples of the pictures used


ATribeOfAfricans t1_j8gbl79 wrote

I wonder if this plays into stage fright. No matter how much I practice and know my material, looking out at a sea of individual faces completely overwhelms and panicks me


ctothel t1_j8gj2rq wrote

Noticing someone else’s fear in a split second saved me from getting punched in the face once. It was uncanny. I wonder if this is what happened.


Pawtamex t1_j8h81q5 wrote

We are hard-wired to flight responses, just as all organisms, at least hypothetically. So, finding this pathway in the brain is another piece to the puzzle. I would not be surprised if they also find the same pathway in brains of unrelated animals like fish and birds.

On this note, the videos that are circulating on dogs howling and birds flying and being noisy just before the earthquakes in Turkey and Siria, it is probably a similar response to fear.


esotericenema t1_j8kzn2f wrote

I wonder if this process, or a related process, could have anything to do with random panic attacks people suffer for no apparent reason.


SailboatAB t1_j8ew3hz wrote

The Republican Party wants to subscribe to your newsletter.


Conscious-Donut t1_j8gtjoj wrote

Did this just scientifically proove telepathic communication using only consciousnesses?


Talinoth t1_j8mcbdm wrote

... Of course not. A subconscious brain picks up visual signals that indicate another person is fearful, and reacts accordingly - all without conscious input.

There is no "communication", let alone telepathic communication. It's just people using their eyes and brains.


FalseTebibyte t1_j8hcv1m wrote

Cats and Dogs can visualize farts with their Furry Logic sight.


MpVpRb t1_j8ebntf wrote

Among the neurotypical, not the neurodivergent


NaturalisticDualism t1_j8ee7fr wrote

Among some of the neurodivergent I'm sure. But I'm not sure the high incidence atypical brains autism etc are completely lacking the mechanism. It's probably a highly conserved computation


Songoffireandice t1_j8eor67 wrote

Going to hard disagree for a second, but I'm not paying $35 to review the study so please provide more information on those studied.

Those with borderline personality disorder would be populations I would be interested in seeing the commonalities, as it's already well prove that micro expression mind reading is a prevalent trait in these subsets.

If this is similar to how we learn to stop hearing dialect sound patterns for instance, then there is a strong case for this being a trained perception, particularly in cases of childhood trauma before your brain start trimming out excess information.

Also, neurodivergent is a stupid term to begin with, who the heck is neurotypical? It's best measured in degrees, if that. Even the most average person across all metrics is exceptionally unique in their normative tendencies I'd posit.


NaturalisticDualism t1_j8ewd9h wrote

I'm not sure. The study is on epileptics. I'm going to say the language faculty and the amygdala are quite different from my (limited) phonological representations in some models are entirely learned with few or no primitives and the pruning you speak of.

However, Neonates already have some facial recognition software. My understanding in terms of innate structure leads me to hypothesize some deep homology in primates here and appearing early in development.

It's well known that the amygdala can be effected my ACEs, I don't know and would rather not guess. But a nonconscious 100 millisecond process might be hard to retrain. Im doing a bunch of guesswork. Nevertheless what you say is interesting and food for thought. I'm pretty unsure.


Songoffireandice t1_j8gs2x6 wrote

I intended to mean it was a similar mechanism in the broader sense that reducing unnecessary sensory stimulation is likely advantageous, using a specific example I was certain of as a token reference in the case of auditory development.

Retraining may not even be a good idea, as I can say with first hand experience being hyper-reactive to subtle emotional visual cues doe's not make functioning in society generally any easier. It does make you potentially better at reading people you are familiar with though.

I like your angle as a vestigial function, and after finding the study posted I think it's better supported than my speculation. What really interests me is the specificity, especially in the lack of reaction to happiness, but not entirely unexpected. Happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, and surprise are all universal to our expressions. With that being said, I would like to at least have seen anger tested in addition, as we currently attribute the amygdala to processing fear and anger specifically.


NaturalisticDualism t1_j8eefz2 wrote

After all the study itself is on a neurodivergent population. I'm no expert on amygdala activity. But I'm not sure I agree with your hypothesis. Though it's underspecified