Publication Details

Favelle, S., Hill, H. & Claes, P. (2017). About Face: Matching Unfamiliar Faces Across Rotations of View and Lighting. i-Perception, 8 (6), 1-22.


Matching the identities of unfamiliar faces is heavily influenced by variations in their images. Changes to viewpoint and lighting direction during face perception are commonplace across yaw and pitch axes and can result in dramatic image differences. We report two experiments that, for the first time, factorially investigate the combined effects of lighting and view angle on matching performance for unfamiliar faces. The use of three-dimensional head models allowed control of both lighting and viewpoint. We found viewpoint effects in the yaw axis with little to no effect of lighting. However, for rotations about the pitch axis, there were both viewpoint and lighting effects and these interacted where lighting effects were found only for front views and views from below. The pattern of effects was similar regardless of whether view variation occurred as a result of head (Experiment 1) or camera (Experiment 2) suggesting that face matching is not purely image based. Along with face inversion effects in Experiment 1, the results of this study suggest that face perception is based on shape and surface information and draws on implicit knowledge of upright faces and ecological (top) lighting conditions.



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