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The process of face recognition Essay

The process of face recognition, identification, and categorization is something that almost all people do in their everyday lives. Although it may seem like a simple task, it is still an essential process that not only do computers attempt to build technologies that target face recognition, but studies psychologically, in particular, also prove that this process is of an essential one. This paper will focus more on the cognitive processes that is involved in face recognition, identification and categorization particularly the hypothesis or how people recognize one face, whether in a holistic way or through certain parts of the faces.

This paper will also attempt to analyze how memory affects face recognition and in relation to this, errors that are common in face recognition will also be identified. INTRODUCTION According to O’Toole and Abdi, “the human face is a highly meaningful stimulus that provides us with diverse information for adaptive social interaction with people. ” From this, we can categorize different characteristics of people like age, sex, race, etc. Moreover, facial movements also connote different expressions, meanings, etc.

From the human face being a visual stimulus, one approach that can be derived from this is what they call as face recognition—judgement or whether or not a particular face is “known. ” (O’Toole & Abdi, 2001) Face recognition is equally important in psychology because—for one, it is a useful process especially in the cases of security systems or criminal cases. Face recognition also entails “within-category” discrimination like discrimination between members of the same basic level category or the discrimination of patterns which share same important features like eyes, nose, mouth, etc. (Lovell)

In order to analyze the cognitive processes involved with the face recognition, the researcher will analyze three texts: a journal article from authors George Lovell in his report entitled Face Recognition, Pam Merek’s article on Facial Recognition, a journal artical from athours Yovel and Duchaine’s entitled Specialized face perception mechanisms extract both part and spacing information: evidence from developmental prosopagnosia. Processes associated with face recognition It was found out, according to George Lovell, that certain parts of the face, like the chin, are found out first to be different from each person.

However, it was also found out that when faces are inverted, the detection of differences on faces tend to be lesser. According to the journal article written by Yovel and Duchaine, there are three hypotheses unto which people can characterize specific nature of specialized face representation. First is the face-specific spacing hypothesis. They stated, “Studies have shown that we are highly sensitive to subtle displacements of face parts (e. g. , eyes, nose, and mouth) in upright faces but not in faces that are inverted or in faces with negative contrast.

” This means that people notice the distance, or the distance of each part of the face has an effect on how people look at each part of the face, especially if the face is inverted. On the other hand, face specific holistic hypothesis “suggests that faces are processed as non-decomposed wholes and that face parts are processed interactively rather than independently. Thus, in contrast to the spacing hypothesis, the holistic hypothesis predicts that information about face parts and spacing among parts is processed by a common mechanism.

” Unlike the other two mentioned hypothesis which focuses on object perception, domain general spacing hypothesis tells that different mechanisms carry face perception “One direct way to examine the domain-general spacing hypothesis is to compare the magnitude of the inversion effect for spacing and part discriminations with faces to other object classes. Such a comparison is essential because an inversion effect by itself is not informative with respect to the nature of specialized face-processing mechanisms.

Only an inversion effect that is larger for faces than for non faces can provide information about the possibility of specialized face-processing mechanisms. ” (Yovel & Duchaine, 2006) From this we can say that the inversion effect really does have alter the way we see faces since it reduces the probability of recognizing the differences of faces, gives the illusion of having similar faces, and making the probability of committing errors higher. There are also other factors that help people identify or recognize faces.

Like in the article of Marek, it is said that those who come from the same races have greater possibilities of identifying people, or recognizing the differences of each faces, than from people who come from another race. (Marek) In studying face recognition, there are also different models that are used, namely the theoretical, information processing, and computational. Theoretical processing, as said by Lovell, may possibly be a vague model—course-scaled and ill defined. One the other hand, information processing “specifies the individual components and the relationship between them.

” Lastly, the computational model is said to be strictly precise. It also “specifies operations within individual boxes. ” (Lovell) Role encoding and retrieval processes involved with long-term memory and how this affects face recognition Pam Marek added that memory is not reproductive, but reconstructive—that is, the case of remembering or recalling the exact replica of something is seldom the case. Instead, what people can recall is already a recreation influenced by experiences. Since the target memory is also related to other memories, perhaps this can also be the reason of mix-ups or recalling things, but not fully.

She added that “memory is also influenced by attention; encoding or the processes people use to bring information into long-term memory, the extent to which the encoding context resembles the retrieval context and by the emotional content of the stimuli. ” (Marek) From this, we can visualize our memory not as compartments where one can store his or her memory through compartments. Rather, our memory is constructed like wires, where each can be related to each other and can be influenced and can be affected by other previous memories (like past experiences) stored.

There are also some exceptions where some people who suffer from certain psychological diseases can bring and effect on their face recognition ability. It was found out, according to Lovell that some people with dementia, which is a common psychological problem, cannot identify facial emotions or expressions but they can identify faces of famous people. Lovell also added that face recognition also has three stages, specifically pertaining to the information which will be remembered first. This goes on in order: Face, Name and Identity.

(Lovell) Since there are our memory is influenced by different things, like attention and encoding, and also given the fact that our memory is designed where one target memory can be related other target memories, the possibilities of committing errors in face recognition are high. Errors in Face recognition George Lovell states that errors in face recognition can have disastrous effects, especially when the situation calls for an accurate answer like in the cases of eye witness testimonies.

There are four common errors, in Lovell’s discussion, of face recognition: person was not recognized, feeling of familiarity without identity, person was recognised but the name cannot be retrieved, and the person is misidentified. (Lovell) As said, one of the most common errors that most people probably have encountered already is that people recognize or is familiar to the face of a certain person but the name cannot be recognized, or perhaps, some cannot remember where he or she have seen that person.

In relation to this, people also encounter the error of the feeling of familiarity with a person but the exact identity of that person cannot exactly be recalled. These errors may seem to be a normal thing or perhaps committing these errors may not mean anything, but it can be crucial especially when the situation calls for it, like on witnessing a criminal case. (Marek) Bibliography Lovel, G. (n. d. ). Face Recognition, Tutorial Handouts, “Cognitiove Psychology” Course, University of Stirling, UK Marek, P. (n. d. ).

Facial Recognition. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from Online Psychology Laboratory: http://opl. apa. org/Experiments/About/AboutFacialRecognition. aspx O’Toole, A. J. , & Abdi, H. (2001). Models of Face Recognition. In N. Smelter, & P. Baltes, Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Science (pp. 1-2). London: Elsevier Science. Yovel, G. , & Duchaine, B. (2006). Specialized face perception mechanisms extract both part and spacing information: evidence from developmental prosopagnosia. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience , 580-593.

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