I recognize you! But how did I do it?
Are you someone who easily recognises everyone you've ever met? Or maybe you struggle, even with familiar faces? It is already known that we are better at recognising faces from our own race but researchers have only recently questioned how we assimilate the information we use to recognise people.
New research by the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus has shown that when it comes to recognising people the Malaysian Chinese have adapted their facial recognition techniques to cope with living in a multicultural environment.
The study 'You Look Familiar: How Malaysian Chinese Recognise Faces' was led by Chrystalle B.Y. Tan, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. The results have been published online in the prestigious scientific journal PloS One, This research is the first PhD student publication for Nottingham's School of Psychology in Malaysia.
Chrystalle Tan said: "Our research has shown that Malaysian Chinese adopt a unique looking pattern which differed from both Westerners and Mainland Chinese, possibly due to the multicultural nature of the country."
The ability to recognise different faces may have social and evolutionary advantages. Human faces provide vital information about a person's identity and characteristics such as gender, age, health and attractiveness. Although we all have the same basic features we have our own distinguishing features and there is evidence that the brain has a specialised mental module dedicated to face processing.
Previous research by a group at Glasgow University in Scotland showed that Asians from mainland China use more holistic recognition techniques to recognise faces than Westerners.
- Chinese focus on the centre of the face in the nose area
- Westerners focus on a triangular area between the eyes and mouth
- British born Chinese use both techniques fixating predominantly around either the eyes and mouth, or the nose
Chrystalle said: "The traditional view is that people recognise faces by looking in turn at each eye and then the mouth. This previous research showed us that some Asian groups actually focus on the centre of the face, in the nose area. While Westerners are learning what each separate part of the face looks like - a strategy that could be useful in populations where hair and eye colour vary dramatically, mainland Chinese use a more global strategy, using information about how the features are arranged. Meanwhile British born Chinese use a mixture of both techniques suggesting an increased familiarity with other-race faces which enhances their recognition abilities."
Eye tracking technology
The study by the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus set out to investigate whether exposure and familiarity with other cultures affects our recognition accuracy and eye movement strategies.
The team used specialised eye tracking technology to investigate the visual strategies used to recognise photographs of faces. They recruited 22 Malaysian Chinese student volunteers from across Nottingham's Malaysia campus. The results showed that Malaysian Chinese used a unique mixed strategy by focusing on the eyes and nose more than the mouth.
Chrystalle said: "We have shown that Malaysian Chinese adopt a unique looking pattern which differed from both Westerners and mainland Chinese. This combination of Eastern and Western looking patterns proved advantageous for Malaysian Chinese to accurately recognise Chinese and Caucasian faces."
The study was supervised by Dr Ian Stephen, an expert on face processing and Dr Elizabeth Sheppard, an expert in eye tracking. Dr Stephen said: "We think that people learn how to recognise faces from the faces that they encounter. Although Malaysia is an East Asian country its ethnic composition is highly diverse. The intermediate looking strategy that Malaysian Chinese use allows them to recognise Western faces just as well as Asians."
Provided by University of Nottingham
- Face recognition: nurture not nature Aug 20, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Bees recognize human faces using feature configuration Jan 29, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Infants taught to maintain ability to distinguish between other-race groups May 19, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- The nose knows: 2 fixation points needed for face recognition Oct 20, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Recognition of facial expressions is not universal Jan 26, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can iodine decrease the vascularity of the thyroid gland?
17 hours ago Hi, If you give high doses of iodine thyroid hormone synthesis decreases. This means TSH level must increase. TSH function is to cause...
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
May 23, 2013 Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
(HealthDay)—We've all seen them: the surfers who race to the beach when a hurricane hits, the guy who decides to ride out the storm in his overmatched boat, the tornado chasers who fearlessly steer their ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 24, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Women at a particular stage in their monthly menstrual cycle may be more vulnerable to some of the psychological side-effects associated with stressful experiences, according to a study from UCL.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 24, 2013 | 4 / 5 (4) | 4 |
Ernie Pyle – an iconic war correspondent in World War II – reportedly said "There are no atheists in foxholes." A new joint study between two brothers at Cornell and Virginia Wesleyan found that only ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 24, 2013 | 2.2 / 5 (5) | 2
(Medical Xpress)—Research by Stanford scholar Emma Seppala at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education found that post-traumatic stress disorder decreased in veterans who participated ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 24, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 1
(Medical Xpress)—Patients with diabetes who are depressed are much more likely to develop episodes of dangerously low blood sugars, or hypoglycemia, than are those who are not depressed, a new study has ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 24, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Neuroscientists from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, led by Assistant Professor Adam Kepecs, have linked the activity of two types of brain nerve cells, neurons, to decisions made during particular type of ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified mutations in several new genes that might be associated with the development of spontaneously occurring cases of the neurodegenerative disease known ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Humans and most mammals can determine the spatial origin of sounds with remarkable acuity. We use this ability all the time—crossing the street; locating an invisible ringing cell phone in a cluttered bedroom. ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new way of tackling cancer and predicting tumor virulence are has been reported by a French team of scientists from the Institut Albert Bonniot de Grenoble including researchers from CNRS, Inserm and Université Joseph ...
5 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
(HealthDay)—Each summer, lawn mower accidents send countless numbers of people to the emergency room. Mishaps often involve serious injuries to the fingers, hands and feet. Often caused by a moment's distraction, ...
8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0