Interattribute distances do not represent the identity of real-world faces

Taschereau-Dumouchel, V., Rossion, B., Schyns, P.G. and Gosselin, F. (2010) Interattribute distances do not represent the identity of real-world faces. Frontiers in Psychology, 1(159),

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Publisher's URL: http://www.frontiersin.org/perception_science

Abstract

According to an influential view, based on studies of development and of the face inversion effect, human face recognition relies mainly on the treatment of the distances among internal facial features. However, there is surprisingly little evidence supporting this claim. Here, we first use a sample of 515 face photographs to estimate the face recognition information available in interattribute distances. We demonstrate that previous studies of interattribute distances generated faces that exaggerated by 376% this information compared to real-world faces. When human observers are required to recognize faces solely on the basis of real-world interattribute distances, they perform poorly across a broad range of viewing distances (equivalent to 2 to more than 16 m in the real-world). In contrast, recognition is almost perfect when observers recognize faces on the basis of real-world information other than interattribute distances such as attribute shapes and skin properties. We conclude that facial cues other than interattribute distances such as attribute shapes and skin properties are the dominant information of face recognition mechanisms.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schyns, Professor Philippe
Authors: Taschereau-Dumouchel, V., Rossion, B., Schyns, P.G., and Gosselin, F.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Frontiers in Psychology
ISSN:1664-1078
Published Online:08 October 2010

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