Exploring the unconscious using faces

Vadim Axelrod, Moshe Bar, Geraint Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Understanding the mechanisms of unconscious processing is one of the most substantial endeavors of cognitive science. While there are many different empirical ways to address this question, the use of faces in such research has proven exceptionally fruitful. We review here what has been learned about unconscious processing through the use of faces and face-selective neural correlates. A large number of cognitive systems can be explored with faces, including emotions, social cueing and evaluation, attention, multisensory integration, and various aspects of face processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israeli Center of Research Excellence in Cognitive Sciences (V.A., M.B.) and the Wellcome Trust (G.R.). We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers and Rebecca Schwarzlose (Trends in Cognitive Sciences editor) for their valuable suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Face-selective biomarkers
  • Faces
  • Invisible stimuli
  • Unconscious processing


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