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Face Recognition.

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Introduction

Andrew Jakeman                09/05/07

Face Recognition

          Face recognition are processes involved in recognition of faces. Explanations of face recognition include feature analysis versus holistic forms. Remembering and recognising faces is an important skill we apply each day of our lives. It is important to our social interactions, to work and school activities, and in our personal family lives. Although most of the research in this area has been undertaken on ‘faces’ it is in fact rare in real life that we need to identify someone from their face alone. Information from a person’s clothes, voice, mannerisms etc, and the context in which we encounter them all help in the identification process. Sometimes we fail to recognise someone because they are not wearing the clothes we normally see them in or because they are in an unexpected context.

           Holistic form theory is an alternative to feature analysis approach to face recognition. Although features are important in describing faces and therefore do have some role to play in face recognition, reliance only on bottom – up processing for such a complex activity is very unlikely. Bruce and Young (1986)

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Middle

            Similar research involves disrupting the configuration of the faces in other ways, either by scrambling the facial features or by inverting the face.

             Haig (1984) showed how recognition times increased for faces of famous people where the spacing between features or the configuration of features had been altered. Yin (1969) found that inverted faces are much harder to recognise. Although errors are found when attempting to recognise any object that has been inverted, faces seem to produce particular difficulties. Cohen (1989) suggests that this demonstrates that faces “are normally recognised holistically, and inversion destroys the global pattern relationships between features.” Thus, such findings could be interpreted as evidence for the holistic approach to face recognition.        

            Further support for a holistic model of face recognition comes from studies investigating the superiority of recognition over recall. People have been found to be consistently better at recognising faces seen before than they are at recalling them.

            A study by Ellis et al (1975) illustrates the difficulties involved in recalling faces. Participants were shown six photographs of male faces for ten seconds and then asked them immediately to recall the face so that it could be reconstructed using photofit materials.

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Conclusion

         Holistic form theory is an alternative to feature analysis approach to face recognition. Although features are important in describing faces and therefore do have some role to play in face recognition, reliance only on bottom – up processing for such a complex activity is very unlikely. According to the Holistic approach a face is recognised as a whole, analysing not just the separate features but also the configuration of the face, the relationship between the individual features, feelings aroused by the face and semantic information about the face.

          There is also another theory called feature analysis theory which is an example of a bottom – up theory in which it is suggested that analysis if individual facial features plays a crucial role in face recognition.

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