Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Face Recognition: Nurture Not Nature

Date:
August 22, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that our society can influence the way we recognize other people's faces.

Fixation biases for Western Caucasian (WC - red) and East Asian (EA - blue) observers are highlighted by subtracting WC and the EA Z-scored fixation distribution maps during WC and EA face learning, recognition and categorization by race.
Credit: Caroline Blais et al, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003022.g002

Researchers have discovered that our society can influence the way we recognise other people's faces.

Because face recognition is effortlessly achieved by people from all different cultures it was considered to be a basic mechanism universal among humans. However, by using analyses inspired by novel brain imaging technology, researchers at the University of Glasgow have discovered that cultural differences cause us to look at faces differently.

Lead researcher Dr Roberto Caldara said: "In a series of eye-movement studies, we showed that social experience has an impact on how people look at faces. Specifically we noticed a striking difference in eye movements in Westerners and East Asian observers. We found that Westerners tend to look at specific features on an individual's face such as the eyes and mouth whereas East Asian observers tend to focus on the nose or the centre of the face which allows a more general view of all the features. One possible cause of this could be that direct or excessive eye contact may be considered rude in East Asian cultures."

The results of the study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council, provide novel insights into why non verbal communication between people from different cultures is sometimes problematic, in an age where globalisation has dramatically increased interdependence, integration and interaction among people and corporations from all over the world. Western societies are generally more individualistic, whereas East Asian societies are collectivistic; Westerners appear to think and perceive focally and Easterners globally.

Dr Caldara continued: "By disproving the long-held assumption that face processing is universally achieved we have highlighted that the external environment, including the society in which we develop, is very influential in basic human mechanisms and caution should be taken when generalising findings to the entire human population."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Blais et al. Culture Shapes How We Look at Faces. PLoS One, 2008; 3 (8): e3022 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003022

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Face Recognition: Nurture Not Nature." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819213027.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, August 22). Face Recognition: Nurture Not Nature. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819213027.htm
Public Library of Science. "Face Recognition: Nurture Not Nature." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819213027.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins