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Face Perception: Using a morphable face model to determine what makes a face look Asian or Caucasian and what makes a face attractive and why?

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Bülthoff,  I
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff, I. (2012). Face Perception: Using a morphable face model to determine what makes a face look Asian or Caucasian and what makes a face attractive and why?. Talk presented at Seoul National University: Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Seoul, South Korea.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-A929-3
Abstract
For German observers, Koreans look far more similar to each other than Germans do and vice-versa. This phenomenon is referred to as the other-race effect (ORE). So far, this ORE was described in tasks involving faces that did not differ only in ethnicity, but also in identity. In the first study that I will present, we dissociated ethnicity from identity information to create pairs of faces that share similar identity information but differ in ethnicity. For each face pair, participants reported which face looked more Asian or more Caucasian. We tested participants from Korea and Germany. Both groups of participants showed equal performance for same-race (high expertise) and other-race pairs (low expertise). Thus they showed no evidence of an other-race effect when ethnicity was the only varying factor between the faces to compare. Participants’ cultural background, however, affected their eye movement strategy. In our second study about ethnicity, mixed-race (Asian and Caucasian) faces were created by embedding one facial feature of one ethnicity (e.g. Caucasian mouth) in a face of the other ethnicity (e.g. Asian face). The influence of each exchanged facial feature on the ethnicity perception for the face it was embedded in was assessed in an ethnicity classification task. The results show that the eyes and the texture (skin) are major determinants of ethnicity classification for both Asian and Caucasian observers. In the last part of my presentation, I will talk more generally about what makes a face attractive and why.