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Alexis Drain, Cindy Bukach, Jessie Peissig; Does Blocking the Eyebrows with Eyeglasses Disrupt Faces Recognition Performance?. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):609. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.609.
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In this study, we examined how disguises hinder the ability of a person to recognize unfamiliar faces by focusing on how such disguises naturally block facial features. In previous studies, we've found that, surprisingly, both tinted and clear glasses cause an equal disruption in facial recognition (Moniz, Righi, Peissig, & Tarr, 2010). One possible explanation is that both tinted and clear glasses block the eyebrows, which previous studies have shown are important for recognition (Sadr, Jarudi, & Sinha, 2003; Peissig, Goode, & Smith, 2009). The disguises used were tinted glasses that blocked or revealed the eyebrows. We were interested in the effect blocking had on participants' recognition memory. We used images of 48 individuals, shown in color. The same glasses were added to all the images using the program EvoStyler. Twenty-six participants made judgments on 24 faces (e.g., attractive/unattractive, smoker/nonsmoker, etc.) to learn the faces. These learned faces consisted of 8 each of Black, Asian, and Caucasian faces; half the faces were male, and half were female. The faces were always learned with no glasses. The participants were then given an old/new task and were shown 24 new faces (8 of each race, 12 of each sex) along with the 24 faces they learned. All the test faces were shown with glasses, half of which covered the eyebrows, and in the other half of the images the eyebrows were still showing. We found that when blocking the eyebrows, glasses hindered participants' recognition performance by a small amount (78.5% correct for eyebrows revealed, and 73.1% correct for eyebrows concealed). This difference approached significance (p=0.056). These results suggest that blocking of the eyebrows with glasses does decrease performance, but this decrease is relatively small. Thus, there are likely to be other features that contribute to the decrease in recognition caused by eyeglasses.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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