chapter  12
35 Pages

Are Reductive (Explanatory) Theories of Face Identification Possible? Some Speculations and Some Findings

The experiments reported in this chapter are designed to examine the effects of visual interference, orientation, disorganization, and missing features on the detection, discrimination, and identification of faces. The main goal of this study is to systematically compare the effects of these variables across tasks. The results of these studies indicate that there is little qualitative difference in the influence of the manipulated independent variables on the three tasks. However, the magnitudes of all effects are substantially greater for identification than for detection or discrimination. The com-parative influence of missing facial features (eyes, nose, or mouth) is also shown to differ in this study from results obtained in previous studies that are very similar in experimental design. One important result is that the effects of disorganization are comparable in magnitude to the effects of the deletion of any facial feature. It is concluded that face perception is a multidetermined process to which

both local and global attributes may contribute, that no one attribute or cue is necessary, that many are sufficient, and, therefore, that there may be many ways to answer the question of which cues are the salient ones in face perception.