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Katharina Dobs, Isabelle Bülthoff, Cristόbal Curio, Johannes Schultz; Investigating factors influencing the perception of identity from facial motion. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):35. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.9.35.
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Previous research has shown that facial motion can convey information about identity in addition to facial form (e.g. Hill & Johnston, 2001). The present study aims at finding whether identity judgments vary depending on the kinds of facial movements and the task performed. To this end, we used a recent facial motion capture and animation system (Curio et al., 2006). We recorded different actors performing classic emotional facial movements (e.g. happy, sad) and non-emotional facial movements occurring in social interactions (e.g. greetings, farewell). Only non-rigid components of these facial movements were used to animate one single avatar head. In a between-subject design, four groups of participants performed identity judgments based on emotional or social facial movements in a same-different (SD) or a delayed matching-to-sample task (XAB). In the SD task, participants watched two distinct facial movements (e.g. happy and sad) and had to choose whether the same or different actors performed these facial movements. In the XAB task, participants saw one target facial movement X (e.g. happy) performed by one actor followed by two facial movements of another kind (e.g. sad) performed by two actors. Participants chose which of the latter facial movements was performed by the same actor as the one performing X. Prior to the experiment, participants were familiarized with the actors by watching them perform facial movements not subsequently tested. Participants were able to judge actor identities correctly in all conditions, except for the SD task performed on the emotional stimuli. Sensitivity to identity as measured by d-prime was higher in the XAB than in the SD task. Furthermore, performance was higher for social than for emotional stimuli. Our findings reveal an effect of task on identity judgments based on facial motion, and suggest that such judgments are easier when facial movements are less stereotypical.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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