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Our brain looks at eyes first to identify a face
Date:7/20/2009

nd common statistical regularities in the images." Keil used a model of the brain's visual system, that is, "I looked at the images to certain extent like the brain does, but with one difference: I had no preferred resolution, but considered all spatial frequencies as equal. As a result of this analysis, I obtained a resolution that is optimum in terms of encoding, as well as the signal-to-noise ratio, and was also the same resolution observed in the psychophysical experiments".

This result therefore suggests that faces are themselves responsible for our resolution preference. This led Keil to one of the brain's properties: "The brain has adapted optimally to draw the most useful information from faces in order to identify them. My model also predicts this resolution if we take into account the eyes alone ignoring the nose and the mouth but also by considering the mouth or nose separately, albeit less reliable."

Therefore, the brain extracts key information for facial identification primarily from the eyes, while the mouth and the nose are secondary, according to the study. According to Keil, if we take a photo of a friend as an example, one might think that every feature of the face is important to identify the person. However, numerous experiments have demonstrated that the brain prefers a coarse resolution, regardless of the distance between the face and the beholder. Until now, the reason for this was unclear. The analysis of the pictures of 868 men and 868 women in this study could help to explain this.

The results obtained by Kiel indicate that the most useful information is drawn from the images if they are around 30 by 30 pixels in size. "Furthermore, the pictures of the eyes provide the least 'noisiest' result, which means that they transmit more reliable information to the brain than the pictures of the mouth and the nose," the researcher said. This suggests that the brain's facial identification mechanisms are specialised in e
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