why are faces important? Identity Attractiveness Gender Age Emotion
How come there’s an area of the brain devoted to faces? Faces are special Faces aren’t special Nancy Kanwisher Isabel Gauthier
faces are special –Faces are so important to humans that we have a special part of the brain that’s solely devoted to dealing with faces –There is a separate area because we identify faces in a completely different way to how we identify objects
inversion effect We are better at recognising upright faces than upside-down faces The face area in the brain is more active for upright faces than upside- down faces Can’t use ‘face template’ for upside-down faces??
faces aren’t special We process faces in the same way that we process objects, but we’re better with faces because: For most things we just want to know which category it belongs to, e.g. a cat or a dog, but for faces we need to know exactly who it is, not just that it’s a face. We’re experts at recognising faces. We’ve been learning to recognise them from birth and we see them all the time.
dogs can be special too Diamond & Carey (1996) –Dog experts show an inversion effect for dogs but novices don’t This finding hasn’t always been replicated
People trained to recognise individual greebles show activation in the face area of the brain, whereas novices don’t
so what’s the answer? The jury is still out.... BUT It may be that areas of the brain very close to the face processing areas respond to objects that we’re experts at recognising Either way, it’s clear that experience plays a big role in our ability to recognise faces (and other things)
the development of face recognition Face recognition doesn’t reach adult levels until around 15 years of age! But the basics are there very early in childhood......
are monkey faces special too? Pascalis, de Haan, & Nelson (2002) They wanted to see if adults, 6-month- old and 9-month-old babies could tell the difference between different human faces and different monkey faces We’re going to do the same thing.....
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