Navigation Links
New research about facial recognition turns common wisdom on its head

A team of researchers that includes a USC scientist has methodically demonstrated that a face's features or constituents more than the face per se are the key to recognizing a person.

Their study, which goes against the common belief that brains process faces "holistically," appears this month in Psychological Science.

In addition to shedding light on the way the brain functions, these results may help scientists understand rare facial recognition disorders.

Humans are great at recognizing faces. There are even regions in the brain that are specifically associated with face perception the most well-known one is the fusiform gyrus in the temporal lobe.

Common wisdom has it that humans recognize the face "holistically," meaning that there is something about the picture created by the entire face the particular arrangement of a face's eyes, nose, and mouth and not just these features themselves that makes it easier for the human brain to make a positive ID.

That common wisdom appears to be wrong.

"There is this belief that faces are special," said the study's coauthor Bosco Tjan, associate professor of psychology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. "But why? How is the face special?"

To use an automotive metaphor, would it be easier for a car aficionado to identify a '58 Corvette by its distinctive quad headlights, chunky chrome grille and swoop on the side or if shown the car that all these pieces make when added together?

Tjan and collaborators Jason M. Gold, associate professor of psychology at Indiana University, Bloomington and IU undergraduate student Patrick J. Mundy tested participants on how accurately they were able to identify a set of faces by the parts of those faces the nose, left eye, right eye or mouth.

Then, using a well-established formula that Tjan developed in an earlier study, the researchers extrapolated how accurately each participant should be able to identify an entire face.

If humans were better at face recognition than nose or eye recognition, one would expect each participant to do a better job of identification when the features are all arranged together into a face. But in fact, the participants did a little worse than predicted by Tjan's formula.

Facial recognition, it appears, hinges on recognizing the face's features more than the "holistic" picture they add up to create.


Contact: Robert Perkins
University of Southern California

Related biology news :

1. Step forward in research into new treatments for brain edema
2. Researchers discover novel therapy for Crohns disease
3. UC research: Tracking Lake Erie water snake in fight against invasive fish
4. UC research tests new tool to guide reintroduction of the American chestnut
5. Record-breaking grant: New research project to investigate the causes of mental disorders
6. Genetic research develops tools for studying diseases, improving regenerative treatment
7. Researchers reveal how a single gene mutation leads to uncontrolled obesity
8. Columbia Engineering and Penn researchers increase speed of single-molecule measurements
9. New research lowers past estimates of sea-level rise
10. Researchers print live cells with a standard inkjet printer
11. Researchers uncover molecular pathway through which common yeast becomes fungal pathogen
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... 2016 Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled ... Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through ... Research report, " Global Biometrics Market By Type, ... Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market is ... account of growing security concerns across various end use ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: ... been advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund ... United States based venture capital funds ... of Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), ... disposition of their entire equity holdings in Biorem to ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Hill, N.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 ... ... U.S. commercial operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University ... serve as adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial ... Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more ... the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the ... a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the ... WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing ... for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved ...
Breaking Biology Technology: