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University of Stirling



Face processing: human perception and principal components analysis

Hancock PJB, Burton AM & Bruce V (1996) Face processing: human perception and principal components analysis. Memory and Cognition, 24 (1), pp. 26-40.

Principal component analysis (PCA) of face images is here related to subjects' performance on the same images. In two experiments subjects were shown a set of faces and asked to rate them for distinctiveness. They were subsequently shown a superset of faces and asked to identify those which appeared originally. Replicating previous work, we found that hits and false positives (FPs) did not correlate: those faces easy to identify as being "seen" were unrelated to those faces easy to reject as being "unseen". PCA was performed on three data sets: (i) face images with eye-position standardised; (ii) face images morphed to a standard template to remove shape information; (iii) the shape information from faces only. Analyses based upon PCA of shape-free faces gave high predictions of FPs, while shape information itself contributed only to hits. Furthermore, while FPs were generally predictable from components early in the PCA, hits appear to be accounted for by later components. We conclude that shape and "texture" (the image-based information remaining after morphing) may be used separately by the human face processing system, and that PCA of images offers a useful tool for understanding this system.

PCA; Face recognition; Face texture; Face shape; Face perception; Face Physiology; Morphology

Memory and Cognition: Volume 24, Issue 1

Author(s)Hancock, Peter J B; Burton, A Mike; Bruce, Vicki
Publication date31/12/1996
PublisherPsychonomic Society
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