Face Perception: A Review of Experiments with Infants, Normal Adults, and Brain-Injured Persons.

by Robert K. Yin

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A chapter for the [Perception] volume of the [Handbook of Sensory Physiology], reviewing experimental literature relevant to the question of whether people recognize human faces differently from the method of recognizing other meaningful objects. Research on infants' perception suggests the possibility of a special face recognition ability, but is not yet conclusive. The few studies comparing face with object recognition in adults and children suggest that a holistic strategy may be used for recognizing faces. Recognition of normally oriented faces is superior to recognition of other meaningful objects, but recognition under distorted conditions is inferior. When denied the opportunity to use a holistic/social coding strategy, as by schematic or artificial reproductions, subjects may fall back on the feature analysis strategy they use for other objects. A special deficit in face recognition (prosopagnosia) is found among some brain-injured patients; persons with injuries to the right hemisphere of the brain have special difficulty recognizing faces. Suggestions for future research are given. 30 pp. Ref.

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