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Jessie Peissig, Tamara Goode, Pamela Smith; The role of eyebrows in face recognition: With, without, and different. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):554. doi: 10.1167/9.8.554.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The primate visual system is exceptional, particularly when used for face recognition and discrimination. While it is generally accepted that facial features are processed holistically, eyes have long been considered the facial feature that is most important; however, most examinations of the salient features in face processing involving manipulations of the eyes have used only the eyes or a combination of the eyes and eyebrows. Recent evidence has suggested that the eyebrows alone may be an important feature for recognition, perhaps second in importance only to the eyes. There are several possible explanations for this importance: eyebrows sit on a convexity, are high contrast features that are relatively large, tend to be a stable facial feature, and appear to be important for conveying emotion and other nonverbal information. Even so, eyebrows have received little attention from face recognition researchers. The present study used the Brown face database, digitally manipulated using Adobe Photoshop, to explore the role of eyebrows in face recognition. Subjects were asked to identify whether two faces presented sequentially were the same or different. On same trials, subjects were presented with one of three possible face-pairs: two original faces; one original face and the same face with digitally removed eyebrows; or one original face and the same face with digitally exchanged eyebrows. Results suggested that eyebrows are an important feature in face processing, indicating that additional research is needed to further explore the role of eyebrows in face recognition.
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