Human kin recognition activates substrates of the extended facial processing network, notably the right-hemisphere structures involved in self-face recognition and posterior medial cortical substrates. To understand the mechanisms underlying prosociality toward kin faces in comparison to other familiar faces, we investigated the neural correlates of implicit trustworthiness ratings to faces of actual kin and personal friends, controlling for activation to distracter faces. When controlling for activation associated with unknown faces, trustworthiness ratings of faces of kin, compared to friends, were associated with increased activation in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, posterior cingulate, and precuneous. On the other hand, trustworthiness ratings of friend faces, relative to kin faces, were associated with the lateral occipital gyrus and insular cortex. Trustworthiness ratings for unknown faces were only associated with activation in the fusiform gyrus. These findings suggest that we should employ medial cortical substrates known to be part of the self-other network when making implicit social judgements about kin, but not other classes of facial stimuli.
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