If given an image of someone’s face, what features would you hone-in on? Many people focus on the eyes since they provide more social information than other facial features according to a study published in Social Cognition on impressions from facial appearance. This research implies that humans have evolved to consider the nose and mouth too, as these “important details” can be used to understand their environments.
This laboratory procedure highlights neurophysiology exercises in synaptic transmission at neuromuscular junctions in relation to a practical problem. The exercise is left open-ended in several ways so instructors and students can modify it to tackle new questions. This is an ideal exercise as a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) to address authentic research questions. The research hypothesis states that muscle injury would result in a pathological increase in K+ concentration within muscle tissue, which would affect surrounding healthy cells.
“I’ve never had a day that I don’t want to go to work. I’m so lucky to get to learn something new every single day.” - Jeremy Day, the Principal Investigator of the Day Lab, a neurobiology lab located in Birmingham, Alabama. Day grew up in Huntsville, Alabama with the initial goal of becoming an architect.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that presents with a tendency to experience sensory overload as well as deficits in social cognition and communication which may be associated with differences in facial processing strategies. Previous studies have shown that, when viewing a facial image, participants with ASD spend less time on the eyes and lips—which contain more emotional and social information than other areas of the face. This study investigates whether individuals with an autism-related phenotype avoid the eyes of facial images in order to reduce their risk of experiencing sensory overload.
Dr. Amanda Freise is a professor and lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (MIMG). She and her students are involved in the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) national virology research program, which enables undergraduates nationwide to conduct studies on newly-discovered viruses.