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An investigation into the importance of the eyes and mouth in face recognition for 16-18 year old male and female sixth form students.

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Introduction Recognition, identification and recall of faces are necessary skills that nearly every body uses every single day. Information used to identify a person doesn't just come from just their face, but also from people's clothing, voice, mannerisms and where they are seen. Sometimes a person may struggle to recognise someone because they are not in their usual context or are wearing unusual clothes, for example. Cohen (1989) distinguished between: * Face identification: looking at a person's face and knowing who it is; * Face recognition recognising the face as one we have seen before; * Face recall: when, from memory, we try to verbally describe a face, draw a face or form a 'mental image' of the face. There are two main explanations for face recognition. Firstly, there is the Feature-analysis theory, a bottom-up theory. It suggests that analysing individual features is the most important factor in face recognition. The visual cues from a face we look at are the most important information for recognition, and therefore we need to focus on the detail of the face, looking mainly at the separate features. Visual cues include the way the light and shade appear on a face and also the texture of hair and skin. ...read more.


Recognition was difficult because the two halves combined made a completely new holistic face, making it harder to recognise the separate halves. This shows that visual cues and individual features are not the only factor in face recognition, as the overall layout of the face is equally, if not more important. Empirical evidence suggests that face recognition is a very difficult activity, concerning both cognitive and emotional processes. Cases show that face recognition does not simply rely on features, because people suffering from Prosopagnosia and Capgras can name and describe individual features of familiar faces. This as well as other evidence points to the holistic form theory of face recognition rather than the feature-analysis theory. Bruce and Young (1986) proposed a model of face recognition based on holistic form theory, shown below; 1. A familiar face is seen - A friend, relative, famous person, etc. 2. The face is structurally encoded - A mental description or representation of the face is produced from the stimulus. 3. The Face Recognition Unit (FRU) is activated - Each face known to the viewer has an FRU containing structural information about the face. 4. The Person Identity Node (PIN) ...read more.


There is however, the problem that some people may recognise some celebrities faster than others as different people find different celebrities more or less famous. There has been a large range of research into face recognition, but importance of features in face recognition is one area that has fewer studies into it than for example, the processes involved. Where Sadr et al. looked at features in the upper part of the face, the eyes and eyebrows; it would be interesting to test the difference in performance of recognition with different features covered and in a different population. Aim Therefore the aim of the experiment is to discover if eyes are more important than the mouth in the recognition of faces for young adults, recording the time taken for groups of images of famous people with either the eyes or mouth concealed. Alternative Hypothesis - It is expected that there will be a significant difference in the amount of time taken to name faces that have the mouth concealed versus faces that have the eyes concealed, in 16-18 year old males and females at Harrogate Grammar School sixth form. Null Hypothesis - There will be no significant difference in time taken to name faces that have had the mouth concealed versus the eyes concealed, for 16-18 year old males and females at Harrogate Grammar School sixth form. ...read more.

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