‘The whole is not greater than the sum of its parts’ in face recognition

Yahoo! India:

Until now, most research has suggested that we recognize faces ‘holistically’ – we look at all the features-eyes, nose, mouth-simultaneously and, perceiving the relationships among them, gain an advantage over taking in each feature individually.

Now, a new study overturns this theory.

The researchers-Jason M. Gold and Patrick J. Mundy of the Indiana University and Bosco S. Tjan of the University of California Los Angeles-found that people’s performance in recognizing a whole face is no better than their performance with each individual feature shown alone.

“Surprisingly, the whole was not greater than the sum of its parts,” said Gold.

To predict each participant’s best possible performance in putting together the individual features, the investigators used a theoretical model called an “optimal Bayesian integrator” (OBI).

The OBI measures someone’s success in perceiving a series of sources of information-in this case, facial features-and combines them as if they were using the sources together just as they would when perceiving them one by one.

Read the whole story: Yahoo! India

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