Generalization to Novel Images in Upright and Inverted Faces

An image of a face depends not only on its shape, but also on the viewpoint, illumination conditions, and facial expression. A face recognition system must overcome the changes in face appearance induced by these factors. This paper investigate two related questions: the capacity of the human visual system to generalize the recognition of faces to novel images, and the level at which this generalization occurs. We approach this problems by comparing the identi cation and generalization capacity for upright and inverted faces. For upright faces, we found remarkably good generalization to novel conditions. For inverted faces, the generalization to novel views was signi cantly worse for both new illumination and viewpoint, although the performance on the training images was similar to the upright condition. Our results indicate that at least some of the processes that support generalization across viewpoint and illumination are neither universal (because subjects did not generalize as easily for inverted faces as for upright ones), nor strictly objectspeci c (because in upright faces nearly perfect generalization was possible from a single view, by itself insu cient for building a complete object-speci c model). We propose that generalization in face recognition occurs at an intermediate level that is applicable to a class of objects, and that at this level upright and inverted faces initially constitute distinct object classes.
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