Cognitive Science 40 (1):202-223 (2016)

Research in face recognition has tended to focus on discriminating between individuals, or “telling people apart.” It has recently become clear that it is also necessary to understand how images of the same person can vary, or “telling people together.” Learning a new face, and tracking its representation as it changes from unfamiliar to familiar, involves an abstraction of the variability in different images of that person's face. Here, we present an application of principal components analysis computed across different photos of the same person. We demonstrate that people vary in systematic ways, and that this variability is idiosyncratic—the dimensions of variability in one face do not generalize well to another. Learning a new face therefore entails learning how that face varies. We present evidence for this proposal and suggest that it provides an explanation for various effects in face recognition. We conclude by making a number of testable predictions derived from this framework
Keywords Face learning  Principal components analysis  Face recognition  Variability  Familiarity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/cogs.12231
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,077
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Recognition of Unfamiliar Faces.Peter J. B. Hancock, Vicki Bruce & A. Mike Burton - 2000 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (9):330-337.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Are We Face Experts?Andrew W. Young & A. Mike Burton - 2018 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 22 (2):100-110.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Neural Correlates of Visual Self-Recognition.Christel Devue & Serge Brédart - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (1):40-51.
Face Recognition: More Than a Feeling of Familiarity?D. M. Thomson - 1986 - In H. Ellis, M. Jeeves, F. Newcombe & Andrew W. Young (eds.), Aspects of Face Processing. Martinus Nijhoff. pp. 118--122.


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #496,304 of 2,454,544 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,188 of 2,454,544 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes