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The Role of Movement in Face Recognition

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The movement of the face may provide information that facilitates recognition. However, in mostsituations people who are very familiar to us can be recognized easily from a single typical view of the face and the presence of further information derived from movement would not be expected to improve performance. Here the effects of movement on face recognition are investigated for faces presented under non-optimal conditions. Subjects were required to identify moving or still videotaped faces of famous and unknown people. Faces were presented in negative, a manipulation which preserved the two-dimensional shape and configuration of the face and facial features, while degrading face recognition performance. Results indicated that moving faces were significantly better recognized than still faces. It was proposed that movement may provide evidence about the three-dimensional structure of the face and allow the recognition of characteristic facial gestures. When the faces were inverted, no significant effect of movement on recognition was found. This was interpreted as reflecting difficulties in the recovery of changing configurations of the face and facial gestures in upside-down faces.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 1997


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