chapter  4
31 Pages

Predicting Similarity Ratings to Faces Using Physical Descriptions

A major goal in the field of face perception is to determine appropriate representations and processes operating on these representations. Faces are enormously, and perhaps infinitely complex (Townsend, Solomon, & Spencer Smith, chap. 2, this volume). By the same token, they all share a recognizable shape and configuration; for example, the nose is always between the mouth and the eyes. Although faces consist of a high number of dimensions, the representation of faces may be thought of as a compression or mapping of the featural dimensions into a lower dimensional space by either ignoring some dimensions or reducing the redundancies among dimensions. Face perception may be thought of as a process by which the physical features of faces are combined to support recognition or categorization tasks. To capture the representations that are used in face perception, researchers have adopted one of two major approaches.