Face perception

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Category archives for Face perception

Synesthesia and the McGurk effect

We’ve discussed synesthesia many times before on Cognitive Daily — it’s the seemingly bizarre phenomenon when one stimulus (e.g. a sight or a sound) is experienced in multiple modalities (e.g. taste, vision, or colors). For example, a person might experience a particular smell whenever a given word or letter is seen or heard. Sometimes particular…

The TV show Lie To Me focuses on the exploits of an expert in lie-detection as he solves perplexing crimes in his high-tech Washington laboratory. It’s actually fun to watch, especially since it appears to make some effort to get the science right (a real-life expert on lie-detection, Paul Ekman, serves as a science adviser…

Nalini Ambady has become famous for her research on “thin slicing,” the idea that ordinary people can make accurate judgments about others amazingly quickly. We’ve discussed work from her lab showing that people can accurately predict teaching ability by watching just six seconds of video of a teacher at work. Other judgments, like gender, race,…

How does our visual system decide if something is a face? Some automated face-detecting software uses color as one cue that something is a face. For example Apple’s iPhoto has no trouble determining that there are two faces in this color picture: That’s Nora in the back, and her cousin Ginger in front. In this…

One of my favorite cartoons as a child was “Speed Racer.” It featured an all-American boy (first name, “Speed,” last name, “Racer”) engaging in that most American of pastimes: driving fast cars. Except that “Speed Racer” wasn’t really American; it was made in Japan, and the original Japanese voices were crudely overdubbed in English. Perhaps…

Take a look at this face: Does it look more angry or fearful? It may be rather difficult to tell: About fifty percent of adults say faces like this are angry and fifty percent say it’s fearful. However, for children, the story is different. Researchers have found that small children aren’t as good as adults…

We’ve discussed attentional blink several times on CogDaily. It’s a fascinating phenomenon: if you see a series of images flashing by rapidly, you can normally pick out one of the images (for example, a banana in series of pictures of familiar objects). But if a second such image (another piece of fruit, like an apple)…

Take a look at these photos of Jim and Nora: They’ve clearly been distorted (using the “spherize” filter in Photoshop), but in opposite directions. Jim’s been “expanded” to make more spherical, while Nora has been “contracted” to look more concave. If you look at these photos for a while, you might have difficulty recognizing how…

The hollow-face illusion is one of the most dramatic and robust illusions I’ve ever come across. It’s been known for well over 200 years, but it never ceases to amaze me, as this video demonstrates: A three-dimensional hollow face mask held a few feet away will appear to be convex (turned “out” towards the viewer)…

Joe and Michelle are having dinner at a romantic restaurant. It’s their first anniversary, and everything is perfect — until an attractive woman walks past the table. Michelle notices that Joe casts a quick glance at the woman. Michelle flashes an annoyed glare at Joe, who knows he’s in trouble. “I didn’t mean to look…