How is the individuality of a face recognized?

M.K. Unnikrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A familiar face is instantly recognized in a crowd. This cannot be achieved through a feature by feature comparison of the observed face with either an average face (norm-based model of face recognition) or with a set of similarly constructed faces stored in memory (exemplar-based model of face recognition). A modified norm-based model is thus proposed. Instead of memorizing an average face, the normal variations for each facial feature are used to construct a multidimensional volume of face-space devoid of unusual features, here defined as features whose metrics lie below the 5th or above the 95th percentiles for that feature. A face consisting of 100 independently variable features will thus have, on average, 10 unusual features. Face identification then becomes exception-reporting. It requires only 10 such rare features to render a given face a one in 1013 faces (P=0.0510=9.8×10-14). In a world containing 6.7×109 people, such a face would be unique. Faces remembered in this way can have their unusual features exaggerated or attenuated without loss of identity. This is the basis of caricatures and anti-caricatures. It also means that individuals belonging to a foreign race, possessing several features with modes beyond the "usual range" of the own-race population, will all look alike. Features that render a face unique in the own-race population are now shared by everyone in the foreign race. Average faces are more beautiful than the faces used in the averaging process. This makes evolutionary sense. Natural selection increases the frequency of fit features at the expense of maladaptive features. "Usual features" are therefore fitter than "unusual features", and play an important role in mate selection. Such an existing fundamental sexual attribute could easily have been harnessed for the fast and efficient recognition of individuals in the community. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-474
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume261
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Individuality
Face
Face recognition
Caricatures
Data storage equipment
Face Recognition
Norm
Genetic Selection
Population Growth
Natural Selection
Alike
Percentile
Marriage
Population
Exception
Averaging
natural selection
Attribute
Model

Cite this

Unnikrishnan, M.K. / How is the individuality of a face recognized?. In: Journal of Theoretical Biology. 2009 ; Vol. 261, No. 3. pp. 469-474.
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abstract = "A familiar face is instantly recognized in a crowd. This cannot be achieved through a feature by feature comparison of the observed face with either an average face (norm-based model of face recognition) or with a set of similarly constructed faces stored in memory (exemplar-based model of face recognition). A modified norm-based model is thus proposed. Instead of memorizing an average face, the normal variations for each facial feature are used to construct a multidimensional volume of face-space devoid of unusual features, here defined as features whose metrics lie below the 5th or above the 95th percentiles for that feature. A face consisting of 100 independently variable features will thus have, on average, 10 unusual features. Face identification then becomes exception-reporting. It requires only 10 such rare features to render a given face a one in 1013 faces (P=0.0510=9.8×10-14). In a world containing 6.7×109 people, such a face would be unique. Faces remembered in this way can have their unusual features exaggerated or attenuated without loss of identity. This is the basis of caricatures and anti-caricatures. It also means that individuals belonging to a foreign race, possessing several features with modes beyond the {"}usual range{"} of the own-race population, will all look alike. Features that render a face unique in the own-race population are now shared by everyone in the foreign race. Average faces are more beautiful than the faces used in the averaging process. This makes evolutionary sense. Natural selection increases the frequency of fit features at the expense of maladaptive features. {"}Usual features{"} are therefore fitter than {"}unusual features{"}, and play an important role in mate selection. Such an existing fundamental sexual attribute could easily have been harnessed for the fast and efficient recognition of individuals in the community. {\circledC} 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.",
author = "M.K. Unnikrishnan",
note = "Cited By :11 Export Date: 10 November 2017 CODEN: JTBIA Correspondence Address: Unnikrishnan, M.K.; Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal, 576 104, India; email: mkunnikrishnan@gmail.com References: Ashby, F.G., Maddox, W.T., Human category learning (2005) Annual Review of Psychology, 56, pp. 149-178; Brennan, S.E., Caricature generator: the dynamic exaggeration of faces by computer (1985) Leonardo, 18 (3), pp. 170-178; Bruce, V., Young, A., Understanding face recognition (1986) British Journal of Psychology, 77 (3), pp. 305-327; Buckhout, R., Regan, S., Explorations in research on the other-race effect in face recognition (1988) Practical Aspects of Memory: Current Research and Issues, 1, pp. 40-46. , Gruneberg M.M., Morris P.E., and Sykes R.N. (Eds), Wiley, Chichester; Daly, M., Wilson, M.I., Whom are newborn babies said to resemble? (1981) Ethology and Sociobiology, 3, pp. 69-78; Diamond, R., Carey, S., Why faces are not special: an effect of expertise (1986) Journal of Experimental Psychology, 115, pp. 107-117; Enquist, M., Ghirlanda, S., The secrets of faces (1998) Nature, 394, pp. 826-827; Ehrlich, P.R., White, R.R., Singer, M.C., Mckenzie, S.W., Gilbert, I.R., Checkerspot butterflies: a historical perspective (1975) Science, 188, pp. 221-228; Etcoff, N., Beauty and the beholder (1994) Nature, 368, pp. 186-187; Gauthier, I., Tarr, M.J., Anderson, A.W., Skudlarski, P., Gore, J.C., Activation of the middle fusiform 'face area' increases with expertise in recognizing novel objects (1999) Nature Neuroscience, 2 (6), pp. 568-573; Gauthier, I., Skudlarski, P., Gore, J.C., Anderson, A.W., Expertise for cars and birds recruits brain areas involved in face recognition (2000) Nature Neuroscience, 3 (2), pp. 191-197; Gething, l., Papalia, D.E., Olds, S.W., (1995) Life Span Development, , McGraw-Hill Australia, Roseville NSW pp. 156-157; Grant, D., Snyder, G.A., Glessner, S.F., Frequency dependent mate selection in Mormoniella vitripennis (1974) Evolution, 28, pp. 259-264; Haxby, J.V., Horwitz, B., Ungerleider, L.G., Maisog, J.M., Pietrini, P., Grady, C.L., The functional organisation of human extrastriate cortex: a PET rCBF study of selective attention to faces and locations (1994) Journal of Neuroscience, 14, pp. 6336-6353; Holden, C., A special place for faces in the brain (1997) Science, 278, p. 41; Hoss, R.A., Langlois, J.H., Infants prefer attractive faces (2003) The Development of Face Processing in Infancy and Early Childhood: Current Perspectives, pp. 27-38. , Pascalis O., and Slater A. (Eds), Nova Science Publishers, New York; Kanwisher, N.G., Mcdermott, J., Chun, M.M., The fusiform face area: a module in human extrastriate cortex specialized for face perception (1997) Journal of Neuroscience, 17, pp. 4302-4311; Koeslag, J.H., Koinophilia groups sexual creatures into species, promotes stasis, and stabilizes social behaviour (1990) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 144, pp. 15-35; Koeslag, J.H., Koinophilia replaces random mating in populations subject to mutations with randomly varying fitness (1994) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 171, pp. 341-345; Koeslag, J.H., On the engine of speciation (1995) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 177, pp. 401-409; Koeslag, J.H., Terblanche, E., Evolution of cooperation: cooperation defeats defection in cornfield model (2003) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 224, pp. 395-410; Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L.A., Casey, R.J., Ritter, J.M., Rieser-Danner, L.A., Jenkins, V.Y., Infant preferences for attractive faces: rudiments of a stereotype? (1987) Developmental Psychology, 23, pp. 363-369; Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L., Attractive faces are only average (1990) Psychological Science, 1, pp. 115-121; Langlois, J.H., Ritter, J.M., Roggman, L.A., Vaughn, L.S., Facial diversity and infant preferences for attractive faces (1991) Developmental Psychology, 27, pp. 79-84; Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L.A., Musselman, L., What is average and what is not average about attractive faces? (1994) Psychological Science, 5, pp. 214-220; Laura, H., Object recognition: where the brain tells a face from a place (2001) Science, 292, pp. 196-198; Leopold, D.A., O'Toole, A.J., Vetter, T., Blanz, V., Prototype-referenced shape encoding revealed by high-level after effects (2001) Nature Neuroscience, 4, pp. 89-94; Leopold, D.A., Bondar, I.V., Giese, M.A., Norm-based face encoding by single neurons in the monkey inferotemporal cortex (2006) Nature, 442, pp. 572-575; Light, L.L., Hollander, S., Kayra-Stuart, F., Why attractive people are harder to remember (1981) Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 7, pp. 269-276; Njemanze, P.C., Asymmetry in cerebral blood flow velocity with processing of facial images during head-down rest (2004) Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, 75, pp. 800-805; Nosofsky, R.M., Zaki, S.R., Exemplar and prototype models revisited: response strategies, selective attention, and stimulus generalization (2002) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28, pp. 924-940; Perkins, D., A definition of caricature, and caricature recognition (1975) Studies in the Anthropology of Visual Communication, 2, pp. 1-24; Perrett, D.I., May, K.A., Yoshikawa, S., Facial shape and judgements of female attractiveness (1994) Nature, 368, pp. 239-242; Reed, S.C., Reed, E.W., Natural selection in laboratory population of Drosophila II competition between white eye gene and its allele (1950) Evolution, 4, pp. 34-42; Rhodes, G., Brennan, S., Carey, S., Identification and ratings of caricatures: implications for mental representations of faces (1987) Cognitive Psychology, 19, pp. 473-497; Rodriguez, J., Bortfeld, H., Rudomin, I., Hernandez, B., Gutierrez-Osuma, R., The reverse caricature effect revisited: Familiarization with frontal facial caricatures improves veridical face recognition (2008) Applications of Cognitive Psychology, , DOI:10.1002/acpi.1539; Rubenstein, A.J., Kalakanis, L., Langlois, J.H., Infant preferences for attractive faces: a cognitive explanation (1999) Developmental Psychology, 35, pp. 848-855; Rubenstein, A.J., Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L.A., What makes a face attractive and why: the role of averageness in defining facial beauty (2002) Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Social Perspectives, , Rhodes G., and Zebrowitz L.A. (Eds), Ablex, Westport, CT; Schultz, R.T., Grelotti, D.J., Klin, A., Kleinman, J., Van Der Gaag, C., Marois, R., Skudlarski, P., The role of the fusiform face area in social cognition: implications for the pathobiology of autism (2003) Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society London B: Biological Sciences, 358, pp. 415-427; Smith, J.D., Minda, J.P., Distinguishing prototype-based and exemplar-based processes in dot-pattern category learning (2002) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28, pp. 800-811; Thompson, P., Margaret Thatcher: a new illusion (1980) Perception, 9, pp. 483-484; Thornhill, R., Gangstead, S.W., Human facial beauty (1993) Human Nature, 4, pp. 237-263; Valentine, T., Upside-down faces. A review of the effect of inversion upon face recognition (1988) British Journal of Psychology, 79, pp. 471-491; Valentine, T., A unified account of the effects of distinctiveness, inversion, and race in face recognition (1991) The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 43 A, pp. 161-204; Webster, M.A., Kaping, D., Mizokami, Y., Duhamel, P., Adaptation to natural facial categories (2004) Nature, 428, pp. 557-561; Wickham, L.H., Morris, P.E., Attractiveness, distinctiveness, and recognition of faces: attractive faces can be typical or distinctive but are not better recognized (2003) American Journal of Psychology, 116, pp. 455-468; Yin, R.K., Looking at upside-down faces (1969) Journal of Experimental Psychology, 81, pp. 141-145; Zigmond, M.J., Bloom, F.E., Landis, S.C., Robert, J.L., Squire, L.R., (1999) Fundamental Neuroscience, , Academic Press, San Diego pp. 1349-1359",
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How is the individuality of a face recognized? / Unnikrishnan, M.K.

In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 261, No. 3, 2009, p. 469-474.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - How is the individuality of a face recognized?

AU - Unnikrishnan, M.K.

N1 - Cited By :11 Export Date: 10 November 2017 CODEN: JTBIA Correspondence Address: Unnikrishnan, M.K.; Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal, 576 104, India; email: mkunnikrishnan@gmail.com References: Ashby, F.G., Maddox, W.T., Human category learning (2005) Annual Review of Psychology, 56, pp. 149-178; Brennan, S.E., Caricature generator: the dynamic exaggeration of faces by computer (1985) Leonardo, 18 (3), pp. 170-178; Bruce, V., Young, A., Understanding face recognition (1986) British Journal of Psychology, 77 (3), pp. 305-327; Buckhout, R., Regan, S., Explorations in research on the other-race effect in face recognition (1988) Practical Aspects of Memory: Current Research and Issues, 1, pp. 40-46. , Gruneberg M.M., Morris P.E., and Sykes R.N. (Eds), Wiley, Chichester; Daly, M., Wilson, M.I., Whom are newborn babies said to resemble? (1981) Ethology and Sociobiology, 3, pp. 69-78; Diamond, R., Carey, S., Why faces are not special: an effect of expertise (1986) Journal of Experimental Psychology, 115, pp. 107-117; Enquist, M., Ghirlanda, S., The secrets of faces (1998) Nature, 394, pp. 826-827; Ehrlich, P.R., White, R.R., Singer, M.C., Mckenzie, S.W., Gilbert, I.R., Checkerspot butterflies: a historical perspective (1975) Science, 188, pp. 221-228; Etcoff, N., Beauty and the beholder (1994) Nature, 368, pp. 186-187; Gauthier, I., Tarr, M.J., Anderson, A.W., Skudlarski, P., Gore, J.C., Activation of the middle fusiform 'face area' increases with expertise in recognizing novel objects (1999) Nature Neuroscience, 2 (6), pp. 568-573; Gauthier, I., Skudlarski, P., Gore, J.C., Anderson, A.W., Expertise for cars and birds recruits brain areas involved in face recognition (2000) Nature Neuroscience, 3 (2), pp. 191-197; Gething, l., Papalia, D.E., Olds, S.W., (1995) Life Span Development, , McGraw-Hill Australia, Roseville NSW pp. 156-157; Grant, D., Snyder, G.A., Glessner, S.F., Frequency dependent mate selection in Mormoniella vitripennis (1974) Evolution, 28, pp. 259-264; Haxby, J.V., Horwitz, B., Ungerleider, L.G., Maisog, J.M., Pietrini, P., Grady, C.L., The functional organisation of human extrastriate cortex: a PET rCBF study of selective attention to faces and locations (1994) Journal of Neuroscience, 14, pp. 6336-6353; Holden, C., A special place for faces in the brain (1997) Science, 278, p. 41; Hoss, R.A., Langlois, J.H., Infants prefer attractive faces (2003) The Development of Face Processing in Infancy and Early Childhood: Current Perspectives, pp. 27-38. , Pascalis O., and Slater A. (Eds), Nova Science Publishers, New York; Kanwisher, N.G., Mcdermott, J., Chun, M.M., The fusiform face area: a module in human extrastriate cortex specialized for face perception (1997) Journal of Neuroscience, 17, pp. 4302-4311; Koeslag, J.H., Koinophilia groups sexual creatures into species, promotes stasis, and stabilizes social behaviour (1990) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 144, pp. 15-35; Koeslag, J.H., Koinophilia replaces random mating in populations subject to mutations with randomly varying fitness (1994) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 171, pp. 341-345; Koeslag, J.H., On the engine of speciation (1995) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 177, pp. 401-409; Koeslag, J.H., Terblanche, E., Evolution of cooperation: cooperation defeats defection in cornfield model (2003) Journal of Theoretical Biology, 224, pp. 395-410; Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L.A., Casey, R.J., Ritter, J.M., Rieser-Danner, L.A., Jenkins, V.Y., Infant preferences for attractive faces: rudiments of a stereotype? (1987) Developmental Psychology, 23, pp. 363-369; Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L., Attractive faces are only average (1990) Psychological Science, 1, pp. 115-121; Langlois, J.H., Ritter, J.M., Roggman, L.A., Vaughn, L.S., Facial diversity and infant preferences for attractive faces (1991) Developmental Psychology, 27, pp. 79-84; Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L.A., Musselman, L., What is average and what is not average about attractive faces? (1994) Psychological Science, 5, pp. 214-220; Laura, H., Object recognition: where the brain tells a face from a place (2001) Science, 292, pp. 196-198; Leopold, D.A., O'Toole, A.J., Vetter, T., Blanz, V., Prototype-referenced shape encoding revealed by high-level after effects (2001) Nature Neuroscience, 4, pp. 89-94; Leopold, D.A., Bondar, I.V., Giese, M.A., Norm-based face encoding by single neurons in the monkey inferotemporal cortex (2006) Nature, 442, pp. 572-575; Light, L.L., Hollander, S., Kayra-Stuart, F., Why attractive people are harder to remember (1981) Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 7, pp. 269-276; Njemanze, P.C., Asymmetry in cerebral blood flow velocity with processing of facial images during head-down rest (2004) Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, 75, pp. 800-805; Nosofsky, R.M., Zaki, S.R., Exemplar and prototype models revisited: response strategies, selective attention, and stimulus generalization (2002) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28, pp. 924-940; Perkins, D., A definition of caricature, and caricature recognition (1975) Studies in the Anthropology of Visual Communication, 2, pp. 1-24; Perrett, D.I., May, K.A., Yoshikawa, S., Facial shape and judgements of female attractiveness (1994) Nature, 368, pp. 239-242; Reed, S.C., Reed, E.W., Natural selection in laboratory population of Drosophila II competition between white eye gene and its allele (1950) Evolution, 4, pp. 34-42; Rhodes, G., Brennan, S., Carey, S., Identification and ratings of caricatures: implications for mental representations of faces (1987) Cognitive Psychology, 19, pp. 473-497; Rodriguez, J., Bortfeld, H., Rudomin, I., Hernandez, B., Gutierrez-Osuma, R., The reverse caricature effect revisited: Familiarization with frontal facial caricatures improves veridical face recognition (2008) Applications of Cognitive Psychology, , DOI:10.1002/acpi.1539; Rubenstein, A.J., Kalakanis, L., Langlois, J.H., Infant preferences for attractive faces: a cognitive explanation (1999) Developmental Psychology, 35, pp. 848-855; Rubenstein, A.J., Langlois, J.H., Roggman, L.A., What makes a face attractive and why: the role of averageness in defining facial beauty (2002) Facial Attractiveness: Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Social Perspectives, , Rhodes G., and Zebrowitz L.A. (Eds), Ablex, Westport, CT; Schultz, R.T., Grelotti, D.J., Klin, A., Kleinman, J., Van Der Gaag, C., Marois, R., Skudlarski, P., The role of the fusiform face area in social cognition: implications for the pathobiology of autism (2003) Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society London B: Biological Sciences, 358, pp. 415-427; Smith, J.D., Minda, J.P., Distinguishing prototype-based and exemplar-based processes in dot-pattern category learning (2002) Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28, pp. 800-811; Thompson, P., Margaret Thatcher: a new illusion (1980) Perception, 9, pp. 483-484; Thornhill, R., Gangstead, S.W., Human facial beauty (1993) Human Nature, 4, pp. 237-263; Valentine, T., Upside-down faces. A review of the effect of inversion upon face recognition (1988) British Journal of Psychology, 79, pp. 471-491; Valentine, T., A unified account of the effects of distinctiveness, inversion, and race in face recognition (1991) The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 43 A, pp. 161-204; Webster, M.A., Kaping, D., Mizokami, Y., Duhamel, P., Adaptation to natural facial categories (2004) Nature, 428, pp. 557-561; Wickham, L.H., Morris, P.E., Attractiveness, distinctiveness, and recognition of faces: attractive faces can be typical or distinctive but are not better recognized (2003) American Journal of Psychology, 116, pp. 455-468; Yin, R.K., Looking at upside-down faces (1969) Journal of Experimental Psychology, 81, pp. 141-145; Zigmond, M.J., Bloom, F.E., Landis, S.C., Robert, J.L., Squire, L.R., (1999) Fundamental Neuroscience, , Academic Press, San Diego pp. 1349-1359

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - A familiar face is instantly recognized in a crowd. This cannot be achieved through a feature by feature comparison of the observed face with either an average face (norm-based model of face recognition) or with a set of similarly constructed faces stored in memory (exemplar-based model of face recognition). A modified norm-based model is thus proposed. Instead of memorizing an average face, the normal variations for each facial feature are used to construct a multidimensional volume of face-space devoid of unusual features, here defined as features whose metrics lie below the 5th or above the 95th percentiles for that feature. A face consisting of 100 independently variable features will thus have, on average, 10 unusual features. Face identification then becomes exception-reporting. It requires only 10 such rare features to render a given face a one in 1013 faces (P=0.0510=9.8×10-14). In a world containing 6.7×109 people, such a face would be unique. Faces remembered in this way can have their unusual features exaggerated or attenuated without loss of identity. This is the basis of caricatures and anti-caricatures. It also means that individuals belonging to a foreign race, possessing several features with modes beyond the "usual range" of the own-race population, will all look alike. Features that render a face unique in the own-race population are now shared by everyone in the foreign race. Average faces are more beautiful than the faces used in the averaging process. This makes evolutionary sense. Natural selection increases the frequency of fit features at the expense of maladaptive features. "Usual features" are therefore fitter than "unusual features", and play an important role in mate selection. Such an existing fundamental sexual attribute could easily have been harnessed for the fast and efficient recognition of individuals in the community. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

AB - A familiar face is instantly recognized in a crowd. This cannot be achieved through a feature by feature comparison of the observed face with either an average face (norm-based model of face recognition) or with a set of similarly constructed faces stored in memory (exemplar-based model of face recognition). A modified norm-based model is thus proposed. Instead of memorizing an average face, the normal variations for each facial feature are used to construct a multidimensional volume of face-space devoid of unusual features, here defined as features whose metrics lie below the 5th or above the 95th percentiles for that feature. A face consisting of 100 independently variable features will thus have, on average, 10 unusual features. Face identification then becomes exception-reporting. It requires only 10 such rare features to render a given face a one in 1013 faces (P=0.0510=9.8×10-14). In a world containing 6.7×109 people, such a face would be unique. Faces remembered in this way can have their unusual features exaggerated or attenuated without loss of identity. This is the basis of caricatures and anti-caricatures. It also means that individuals belonging to a foreign race, possessing several features with modes beyond the "usual range" of the own-race population, will all look alike. Features that render a face unique in the own-race population are now shared by everyone in the foreign race. Average faces are more beautiful than the faces used in the averaging process. This makes evolutionary sense. Natural selection increases the frequency of fit features at the expense of maladaptive features. "Usual features" are therefore fitter than "unusual features", and play an important role in mate selection. Such an existing fundamental sexual attribute could easily have been harnessed for the fast and efficient recognition of individuals in the community. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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