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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9490

Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Biological "bar codes" in human faces
Author(s): Dakin, Steven C
Watt, Roger
Contact Email: r.j.watt@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: face recognition
orientation
spatial frequency
contrast polarity
inversion
Issue Date: Apr-2009
Publisher: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Citation: Dakin SC & Watt R (2009) Biological "bar codes" in human faces, Journal of Vision, 9 (4), p. article 2.
Abstract: The structure of the human face allows it to signal a wide range of useful information about a person's gender, identity, mood, etc. We show empirically that facial identity information is conveyed largely via mechanisms tuned to horizontal visual structure. Specifically observers perform substantially better at identifying faces that have been filtered to contain just horizontal information compared to any other orientation band. We then show, computationally, that horizontal structures within faces have an unusual tendency to fall into vertically co-aligned clusters compared with images of natural scenes. We call these clusters "bar codes" and propose that they have important computational properties. We propose that it is this property makes faces "special" visual stimuli because they are able to transmit information as reliable spatial sequence: a highly constrained one-dimensional code. We show that such structure affords computational advantages for face detection and decoding, including robustness to normal environmental image degradation, but makes faces vulnerable to certain classes of transformation that change the sequence of bars such as spatial inversion or contrast-polarity reversal.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/9490
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/9.4.2
Rights: The publisher has not responded to our queries therefore this work cannot be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: University College London
Psychology

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