Theories explaining face recognition

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Theories explaining face recognition

Face recognition is a special form of pattern recognition, which allows us to perform the highly adaptive task of identifying individuals and picking up information from their expressions.

Identifying a face involves a number of stages, including recognising the face as familiar, working out where we have seen it before and putting a name to it. Failure at one stage causes particular problems in the process of identification.

Bruce & Young (1986) proposed a model to account for the different stages involved in face identification:

Theories explaining face recognition

This model of face recognition has much support from research studies, particularly those involving the use of brain damaged patients (For example; Young et al., 1983) and PET scanning to view areas of activity in the brain whilst different tasks are performed (Sergent & Signoret, 1992).

One problem of the model is that the components are not all explained fully. This is particularly true of the 'cognitive system' which was included in the model to explain processing not accounted for by the other components.

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