Tag Archives: Body Recognition

Cannot be unseen….

I don’t know whether its some thing to do with visual recognition or maybe some obscure variety of synaesthesia, but whenever I see that Donald Trump’s nasty little mouth in that pinched circular shape, the concept of “anus” instantly and involuntarily comes to mind. No seriously….

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A family with multiple prosopagnosics and a super? That’s interesting.

Daily Mail article about K C Andrew, a British lady with prosopagnosia:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3354051/The-woman-doesn-t-recognise-REFLECTION-Mother-two-suffers-face-blindness-t-remember-children-look-like.html

Some quotes from the article are very thought-provoking:

“I recognise faces in animated things. I often describe people as looking like cartoons, actually – drawings are so much easier for me,’ she explained.”

Researchers could test that, no doubt. Could this be a clue to the exact nature of what does not work in face recognition of people with prosopagnosia, or just in this case in particular?

As is also the case in other personal accounts of living with prosopagnosia, K C Andrew uses other visible characteristics of people to identify them, such as gait and mannerisms, and I think some info given in the article hints that Ms Andrew could have developed a superior ability in memorizing and identifying these things. Should we look for unknown special abilites in prosopagnosia? Might it be linked to some specific superiority in perception as in colour-blindness?

 

It’s more than just face recognition

You would have to be a fool to think that the abilities of super-recognizers are limited to face memory and face recognition. I strongly suspect that another part of the parcel of ability is the highly sensitive recognition of body language, and by that I mean the total package of facial expressions and head and body movements and probably the associated vocal expressions that is characteristic, but not completely unique, to a person. Of course, these things are intimately linked with the static appearance of the face, and very often when I detect two individuals who have a strikingly similar physical expressive personality they will also have faces that are similar in many ways. My point is, that faces and people are not static objects, and judging super-recognition with tests that use photos probably does not begin to explore the total package of ability.

Not often, but now and then I’m struck and fascinated by the resemblance between the expressiveness of a person I know and some famous person, and also sometimes the similarity can be seen between famous people. One example would be when I was watching the Australian comedian Wil Anderson being interviewed in the One Plus One TV show. In this show he was much more animated than his usual TV appearances, probably because his style of comedy requires a quite cool, straight face, while in the interview he was responding to personal questions and was recounting personal stuff. I was struck by how much his expressive personality or body language seemed the same as the Australian comedy and straight role actor Garry McDonald AO. Do they have similar faces also? I think when you remove the differences in age and hair and facial hair and acting roles, there is a basic facial similarity, but I feel that it goes beyond that. There’s more to it than mere eyes and noses and mouths.

Perhaps you are wondering how researchers could test my proposition that supers are also specifically and separately super at recognizing or interpreting body language, without mixing up face recognition and body language recognition? I guess one could use computer generated images of human silhouettes or outlines as was done in this interesting piece of research about the ability to judge sexual orientation from body language. I’ll bet supers would gun such a test!

 

When you wake up with the melody of a love song wafting through your mind like the scent of jasmine on a summer’s night…..

….you know you stayed up way too late watching a Bollywood movie the night before. I stayed up late the other night watching most of the 176 minutes of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, starring the incomparably gorgeous Shah Rukh Khan and beautiful Anushka Sharma. I should have been an Indian, with my love of music and bright colours.

Much as I adore Bollywood movies, especially ones with Shah Rukh Khan in them, I’ve taken a few viewings to warm to this film, probably because I don’t like the gender politics in it, as is the case with most Bollywood movies and I also don’t like the stereotypically negative depiction of introverts, as is often found in both Bollywood and Hollywood movies. One positive thing I can say about this film is that it proves the acting talent of the delightful male lead, because the plot of the film would be totally implausible if not for his ability to convince the audience that his wife in the movie could be fooled by her husband knowing her in close relationships both in his real persona and in a synthesized character who is his extreme opposite in terms of the introversion/extroversion spectrum of personality dimensions. Obviously both characters have the same face, so how could a wife not recognize her own husband’s face, playing a different character? I guess that premise is believable in light of the fact that face recognition ability is found in humans in a spectrum of ability, or a “bell curve” or a natural distribution. Most people are pretty good at it, a few excellent, and I guess the same number of a few really bad at recognizing faces. And there are other things that can confuse visual person recognition such as hairdos, facial hair, posture, habitual fashion styles, gait, voice and above all, personality, which is the spirit or mind that animates our bodies and faces. Shah Ruhk Khan and the make-up and fashion professionals who worked on this movie have expertly altered all of the above features of a persona (besides the basic face structure) in the two characters he plays, with such skill that the actor’s face no longer plays the usually dominant role in person recognition, even for a super-recognizer such as myself.

Upon some reflection, I’ve concluded that the degree of attention to the face of both personas of the male lead character are not reduced to the same degree. I think I paid much more attention to the sexy persona’s face than to the nerdy persona’s face, even though they are the same face. I guess that is just how that kind of attraction works; it demands and keeps attention. No surprises there, but if this is generally true it gives a nice clue to how to hide or disguise identity. I guess it is no accident that the stereotypical disguise consists of props that make a person less attractive, things such as spectacles or fake facial hair. Does a less attractive face draw less attention, and as a result is it less likely to be well-encoded in visual memory, and is it then less likely to be recognized later?

Can I really believe a plotline in which a wife repeatedly fails to recognize her own husband wearing a disguise that reveals his face rather than covers it? I’m not sure it matters that much when I just love watching the actors the dancing and the colours, but for sure Shah Rukh Khan’s ability to turn his industrial-strength charisma on an off like a tap is the only thing that makes this film believable in any shape or form.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1182937/

 

In New Scientist

Face recognition row over right to identify you in the street

15:41 19 June 2015 by Hal Hodson

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27754-face-recognition-row-over-right-to-identify-you-in-the-street.html#.VYktFPmqpBd

Many of the clever face recognition tasks done by technology described here could be done by an experienced super-recognizer employee, and commentators concerned about privacy can go have a big cry over the things that supers can do, because you can’t legislate that people such as super-recognizers should refrain from using natural talents.

And more…..

Facebook can recognise you in photos even if you’re not looking

15:27 22 June 2015 by Aviva Rutkin

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27761-facebook-can-recognise-you-in-photos-even-if-youre-not-looking.html#.VYp5JPmqpBc

Looking far into the future…..

I can predict that a fascinating paper about the development of face and body recognition abilities in children will be published in a journal in September of this year.

Face and body recognition show similar improvement during childhood.
Samantha Bank, Gillian Rhodes, Ainsley Read, Linda Jeffery,
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Received 19 December 2014, Available online 20 April 2015

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. Volume 137 September 2015, Pages 1–11.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022096515000703

Creep in the crowd?

Did I just spot that revolting Jimmy Savile wearing a curly blond wig and dark sunnies acting as a member of the large hippie crowd dancing to a hippie band in the old movie Carry on Camping?

Recognizing feet and toes

Faces are special in many ways but they certainly aren’t the only body parts that are distinctive and can be individually visually remembered and recognized. Ear recognition has helped to solve at least a couple of famous crime mysteries. Hands can also be memorable and fingers exist in a variety of shapes. Hands and feet can be distinctive and subtle deformities are common. Even the humble toe can be a big deal to some people, and foot recognition is not limited to real feet because statues also need to stand on something.

Feet can also be misrecognized as something else. Is it a super-recognizer thing or does everyone get this sometime? You wake up, you stick your foot in the air out of the sheets and the blankets and there it is and you can’t help thinking “That is one horribly deformed hand” all the while consciously knowing it is just your more-or-less normal foot, but at the same time, you can see plain as day it’s anatomical heritage as a thing that once gripped more than plodded. Weird.

Balsamo, Annelise Toes. 360documentaries. Radio National. July 27th 2014. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/toes/5617412

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/projects/pocketdocs/5092234

 

More thoughts on Somerton Man

I’ve written about this mysterious Australian crime case before at this blog, and I’ve just started watching an online video of Sunday’s 60 Minutes story about this case, and I’ve got some observations about the appearance of the body shown in photos in the 60 Minutes (Australia) story.

He did have odd-looking ears and I don’t doubt the idea that this trait would be genetic and could be traced in a descendant, as I’ve read somewhere. The ears could certainly be useful for identification of the body.

I don’t know if he was a spy for the Ruskies back in the Cold War era, but I doubt that he was of Russian stock. I feel that he had a very Australian-looking face. I feel that it is the face typical of a race of people founded mostly by British convicts. He’s got that street-smart look, that Aussie look, that normal look. I don’t feel that he looks like a foreigner.

Lastly, I wouldn’t speculate one way or another whether the potential grand-daughter of Somerton Man is actually his descendant, based on their ears and faces, except that I think it is possible.

http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8759245

Snapdragon seed pods are fine fodder for pareidolia

They are only seed pods, so why do I see skulls? I guess this shows that pareidolia works just as readily for the recognition of skulls and it works for the recognition of faces. That’s creepy.

http://nexninek.com/

http://peoniesandpancakes.wordpress.com/tag/seed-pods/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2011/09/10_things_we_didnt_know_last_w_199.shtml

And here is a monstrous example of pareidolia:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/25/cookie-monster-sea-sponge-photo_n_3991595.html

HAPPY HALLOWEEN READERS!