Face perception

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Category archives for Face perception

We can quickly spot a face staring at us in a crowd. We can do this much quicker, for example, than we can determine that no one is staring at us, as this movie demonstrates. A grid of 100 pictures of Greta will be flashed for about 1/3 of a second. Can you spot the…

Remember this video? A few weeks ago we used it to demonstrate that facial expressions can disrupt the perceptual system in fundamental ways. Actually, because we could only show a few short clips, we weren’t able to duplicate the research results found by John Eastwood, Daniel Smilek, and Philip Merikle. But in their, more comprehensive…

Philosophers have wondered for centuries whether someone who was blind from birth would “see” the world in the same way as people with normal vision. After all, there’s much more to perceiving the world than properly functioning eyes. Think of it: otherwise all you’d need to do is strap a camcorder to a car and…

Science is hard

Yesterday we tried to replicate the effect that John Eastwood, Daniel Smilek, and Philip Merikle observed — that negative facial expressions distract us from even the simplest tasks more than positive facial expressions. Hundreds of our readers watched one of two videos and were charged with counting the number of “upturned arcs” or “downturned arcs.”…

When Sarah Palin was introduced to the country, most Americans had never heard of her — but many people noticed that she looked very similar to the then-more-famous actor Tina Fey. Can you tell which is which? Let’s make this a poll: Which one is Sarah Palin? ( polls) We’re amazingly good at recognizing the…

You’re at a bar, club, or church social and you’ve just met an absolutely stunning member of the opposite sex. You’re single and available, and you detect no signs of romantic commitment in your new conversation-partner. Could he/she be interested in you too? Or you’re walking down a poorly-lit street in an unfamiliar city. It’s…

Humans are exceptionally good at recognizing faces they’ve seen before. It doesn’t take much study to accurately recall whether or not you’ve seen a particular face. However, this pattern breaks down when faces come from unfamiliar races. A white person who lives primarily among other whites will have more difficulty recognizing Asian faces, and vice…

[This post was originally published in November of 2006] Do you recognize the person depicted in this video? (QuickTime required; the movie is below the fold)

Do you recognize the faces in this picture? Sure you do — you could recognize the authors of this blog anywhere, even upside-down. It might take you just a bit longer to realize that something isn’t quite right with the picture. I’ll show you what the problem is at the end of this post. We’ve…

It shouldn’t take you long to notice what’s wrong with this picture: Obviously Nora is defying gravity in this shot — you can’t help but notice it. But in your first glance at the photo, how quickly do you notice what’s wrong? Do you spot the oddity faster than you’d notice Nora in the original,…