Running Header: FACIAL RECOGNITION
The Effect of facial configuration and facial expressions on facial recognition
Facial recognition is an ability which is vital to maintaining successful social interaction and behaviour. Previous research indicates that factors such as facial configuration and facial expressions significantly impact facial recognition ability. This study aims to combine the two aforementioned factors and discover whether an interaction between facial configuration and facial expressions on facial recognition exists and if so, how significant it is. 20 participants aged between 18-24 partook in a recall task; identifying configured/expressive facial images. The following hypotheses were tested; (A) facial recognition performance will be greater in the ‘eyes normal’ condition than that in the ‘eyes apart’ condition, (B) performance of facial recognition will be better in the ‘happy’ condition than that of the ‘neutral’ condition, (C) facial recognition performance will be greatest in the happy, eyes normal combined condition. It was found that facial configuration and facial expressions both independently had significant effect on facial recognition ability but there was no significant interaction between the two factors.
The Effect Of Facial Configuration And Facial Expressions On Facial Recognition
The ability to perceive and identify faces is vital to human social behaviour; it is a skill that is used every day, rarely given a second thought to but is fundamental to successful social interaction. How well we perceive and recall faces is dependent on several factors, for example, facial configurations and facial expressions. It is generally accepted that “faces are recognized not on the basis of their individual features but in terms of the whole that emerges from the features” (Tanaka and Sengco, 1997). This account of facial recognition, referred to as holistic processing (Tanaka and Farah, 1993) states that facial recognition is better when facial features, such as the eyes and nose, are presented in the context of a whole face rather than when in isolation.
Research on this topic is extensive; Tanaka and Sengco (1997) tested the effects of facial configurations on face recognition. Two configurations of a face were created, one with eyes close together and one with eyes far apart. Subjects were presented with both configurations and tested on their ability to recall faces/features. Results indicated that the spatial configuration of facial features interfered with subjects’ ability to recall – recognition performance was better in the normal unaltered configuration condition. In a similar study (Bruce, 1982), a list of unfamiliar faces were displayed to participants, these faces were either unchanged or changed in an angle, for example, full face to ¾. It was found that these configurational changes in the faces resulted in an impairment in participants’ abilit...