Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Nose Knows: Two Fixation Points Needed For Face Recognition

Date:
October 21, 2008
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Many of us are bad at remembering names but we are very quick to point out that at least we never forget a face. Never mind recognizing a familiar face -- how is it that we recognize faces at all?

When asked to determine if the face that test subjects were looking at was one that they had just seen a few minutes prior, test subjects first "fixed" their eyes near the center of the nose, and when they moved their eyes to the second location on the face, it too was usually near the center of the nose.
Credit: Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science

Many of us are bad at remembering names but we are very quick to point out that at least we never forget a face. Never mind recognizing a familiar face- how is it that we recognize faces at all? Facial recognition is so automatic that we do not think about how our brain actually perceives a face.

Related Articles


Previous studies have indicated that during face recognition, we look most often at the eyes, nose and mouth. Now, a new study has pinpointed exactly where our eyes land when we see a face.

Cognitive Scientists Janet Hui-wen Hsiao and Garrison Cottrell from the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center at the University of California, San Diego examined this by showing volunteers frontal-view images of faces, one at a time, and recording their eye movements with an eye tracker. By using the eye tracker, the researchers were able to measure fixation points when the faces were shown (i.e. where on the face the volunteers looked).

In addition, the researchers limited the number of fixations that volunteers could make when looking at the faces to one, two, three or an unlimited number, by replacing the face with an average of all of the faces in the study when the number of fixations exceeded the limit. This is done while the eyes are “in flight” to the next fixation - when we are virtually blind until we land at the next spot.

The results, reported in the October issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, showed that during face recognition, the first two places we look at are around the nose, with the first fixation point being slightly to the left of the nose. This was surprising, as previous research has suggested that the eyes may be the critical point for face perception. In this study, it was not until the third fixation that participants looked at the eyes.

The researchers also found that two fixations are optimal for face recognition. Given the same amount of time to view each face, the volunteers performed better when they were allowed to make a second fixation than when they could look at only one fixation. The authors noted, “This suggests that the second fixation has functional significance: to obtain more information from a different location.”

The authors conclude that the nose “may be the ‘center of the information’, where the information is balanced in all directions, or the optimal viewing position for face recognition.”


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "The Nose Knows: Two Fixation Points Needed For Face Recognition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020171452.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2008, October 21). The Nose Knows: Two Fixation Points Needed For Face Recognition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020171452.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "The Nose Knows: Two Fixation Points Needed For Face Recognition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081020171452.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Phoenix hospital is experimenting with a faster way to test much needed medications for deadly brain tumors. Patients get a single dose of a potential drug, and hours later have their tumor removed to see if the drug had any affect. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

Buzz60 (Jan. 22, 2015) — What you do before bed can effect how well you sleep. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has bedtime rituals to induce the best night&apos;s sleep. Video provided by Buzz60
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