Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain needs to remember faces in three dimensions

Date:
September 10, 2010
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
In our dynamic 3-D world, we can encounter a familiar face from any angle and still recognize that face with ease, even if the person has, for example, changed his hair style. This is because our brain has used the 2-D snapshots perceived by our eyes (like a camera) to build and store a 3-D mental representation of the face, which is resilient to such changes. This is an automatic process that most of us are not consciously aware of, and which appears to be a challenge for people with a particular type of face-blindness, suggests new research.

In our dynamic 3-D world, we can encounter a familiar face from any angle and still recognize that face with ease, even if the person has, for example, changed his hair style. This is because our brain has used the 2-D snapshots perceived by our eyes (like a camera) to build and store a 3-D mental representation of the face, which is resilient to such changes.

This is an automatic process that most of us are not consciously aware of, and which appears to be a challenge for people with a particular type of face-blindness, as reported in the September 2010 issue of Elsevier's Cortex.

Prosopagnosia is a condition in which the ability to recognize faces is impaired; it can arise from damage to the brain or can also be present from early childhood, without any discernible brain damage. The latter is known as Developmental Prosopagnosia (DP) and in many cases it runs in families.

To investigate familial prosopagnosia, Drs. Yunjo Lee and Hugh Wilson at York University in Canada, together with colleagues from University College London and Harvard University, extensively assessed the face-processing abilities of three cases of DP within a single family.

The participants, a father and two daughters, all have trouble recognizing faces, despite having otherwise normal visual sensory and intellectual abilities. All three are highly educated and socially well integrated; they know what a face looks like and can read facial expressions, attractiveness and gender from the face. One of the daughters is in fact a visual artist who frequently portrays faces with great detail in her sculptures, demonstrating her ability to process generic faces. However, the study showed that changes in lighting conditions and viewing angles affected their ability to recognize faces. For example, one of the daughters was able to detect subtle differences between two faces when looking at them from the same angle, but not when viewed from different angles.

The findings of this study suggest that some cases of familial DP result from an inability to form a robust mental representation of a face that can cope with changes in viewpoint or other conditions.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yunjo Lee, Bradley Duchaine, Hugh R. Wilson, Ken Nakayama. Three cases of developmental prosopagnosia from one family: Detailed neuropsychological and psychophysical investigation of face processing. Cortex, 2010; 46 (8): 949 DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.07.012

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Brain needs to remember faces in three dimensions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909074017.htm>.
Elsevier. (2010, September 10). Brain needs to remember faces in three dimensions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909074017.htm
Elsevier. "Brain needs to remember faces in three dimensions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100909074017.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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