Facial Recognition

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  • Explanations of facial recognition
    • Feature Analysis Theory
      • Bottom up theory suggesting that Individual features are key in reconition.
        • Emphasised by how when a person is asked to describe a face, people most comonly say the features.
      • Visual cues, such as light and shade and texture of skin allow one to see the broader features such as shape of nose and mouth.
      • Shepard, Davies and Ellis (1981) found unfamiliar faces are reclled using the main features.
        • Lacks e.v as rarley asked to describe an unfamiliar picture of a face.
      • Ellis 1979 found with unfammiliar faces we rely on external features, e.g. hair and face shape, while for familiar faces we use internal features, e.g. nose.
        • Internal features are more reliable.
      • Bradshaw and Wallace (1971) found people were quicker to identify faces that differed if no. of facial features was differed. So facial features are independently processed.
      • Sergent (1984) contradicts other evidence and found features are processed configuratively not independantly.
      • Empirical evidence to support the theory.
      • Recognition is a complex theory and so relying on just one theory is unlikely.
      • Tanaka and Farah 1993 found single facial features are not easily recognised, features need to be processed as a whole.
      • It neglects the importance of other infomrtion such as facial expression.
      • Scrambled faces - It does not explan why altering the configuration of a face interfers with recognition. Bruce and Valentine (1986).
      • Inverted faces - Yin (1969) found that when faces are inverted there are difficulties when trying to recognise them.
        • Sergent (1984) repeated her experiment. Found mulitple-feature differences were no quicker found than single.
        • Other studies found that different processing occurs for upright and inverted faces.
      • Pairing different halves - Young and Hay (1986) found when producing a composite faceit was more difficult as a new holistic face seemed to be produced.
      • Capgras syndrome - delusional disorder where people think people that they know have been replaced by doubles.They do not have an emotional response, bnut recognise the person.
      • Prosopagnosia - unable to recognise familiar faces. Individual features can be recognised but they have no knowlaedge of who the person is.
    • Holistic Theory
      • Developed by Bruce and Young in 1986. It is a sequential model and a top down approach
      • Requires stored sematic and emotional information. A face is recognised as a whole by analysing tyhe relationship between the features and the feelings aroused by the face and sematic info.
      • We try and mactch the stimulus to our mental pattern.
      • Sequential model: see a face, it is then structually encoded and a representation of the face is produced, this activates the appropiate FRU which contains structual info about that face.
        • If the incoming info matches the FRU then PIN is activated which contains info about the person, e.g. their occupoation, interests.
          • This info then allows a name to be activated. It is stored sepeartely from other info and is last acessed.
      • Young investigated in 1985 the difficulties in fcail recognition in everyday life. From 22 volunteers he  found that their results from their diaries supported the holistic and sequential nature of face recognition. 190 cases = have info such as occupation but no name, 233 cases = feelings of familiarity but no names.
        • High in e.v. and validity as carried out in the real world over a period of time.
      • Flude (1989) produced evidence from a brain damaged patient who could identify the occupations of 85%of the familiar faces, but only the names of 15%.
      • Malone (1982) supports the models suggestions that there are seperate processes for familiar and unfamiliar faces. Double dissociation - a patient could match unfamiliar faces perfectly bnut could only match 5 out of 22 of famous people.
      • It lacks detail of how unfamiliar faces are recognised, concentrating mainly on familiar faces.  (Estgate and Groome 2005).
      • Prosopagnosia patients, although show noovert recognition, they show covert recognition; measured with GSR where both the PIN and FRU seem to be activated. How can unconscious recognition occur without conscious?
        • Led to the development of the model into the interactive activation and competition model.
      • Takes into account that the process is complex and involves both semantic and emtotional info.
      • Explains many everyday observations.
      • Burton revised the model in 1990 using a computer modelling programe to further investigate the facisal recognition process as the multiple associations made by neurons in the brain are stimulated.




Very colourful and useful explanations of facial recognition, thank you!

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