August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Title: Familiarity and the Recognition of Disguised Faces
Author Affiliations
  • Amy Douma
    California State University, Fullerton
  • Erin Moniz
    California State University, Fullerton
  • Mike Tarr
    California State University, Fullerton
  • Jessie Peissig
    California State University, Fullerton
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 980. doi:
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      Amy Douma, Erin Moniz, Mike Tarr, Jessie Peissig; Title: Familiarity and the Recognition of Disguised Faces. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):980.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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People have the ability to transform the appearance of the facial region with the application of make-up, growing or shaving of facial hair, addition or removal of glasses, alteration of hair style or color, and race of the individual. All of these transformations have an impact on the ability to recognize a person, though it’s unclear how much of an impact, and the degree to which different transformations disrupt recognition. The purpose of this study was to add to existing knowledge about the ability of human subjects to recognize naturalistic faces in disguise. We investigated the effects of different types of changes that altered the appearance of the faces from presentation to test (e.g., addition or subtraction of eyeglasses, or a wig). Also included are the levels of familiarity on recognition between races. People were familiarized with faces three, six, or nine times while performing judgment tasks (e.g., attractive vs. unattractive) with individuals either in disguise (wig and/or glasses), or no disguise. During the testing phase, participants were shown previously learned and novel individuals, both with and without disguise. Participants were familiarized with a 45-degree rotation and tested with frontal views. Also tested was race to see how familiar participants were with other race faces. Results indicated that any change from presentation to test lowered accuracy, and as the number of changes increased, performance decreased. Eyeglasses hindered recognition, but results indicated little difference between tinted and clear-lens glasses in their effect on performance. The participant’s scores for addition vs. subtraction of eyeglasses replicated prior work showing that encoding a face with eyeglasses and removing them before the recognition task was more damaging than an addition. Although no significant main effect was found for familiarity, post hoc tests did indicate a significant difference between familiarizing someone three times versus nine times.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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