White M, 2004, "Removing eyebrows impairs recognition of famous faces, or doesn't, depending on how the eyebrows are removed" Perception 33(10) 1215 – 1220
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Removing eyebrows impairs recognition of famous faces, or doesn't, depending on how the eyebrows are removed
Received 11 December 2003, in revised form 22 March 2004; published online 20 August 2004
Abstract. Matching photos of famous people's faces with their names was as fast with photos that had eyebrows masked by adhesive plaster as with unretouched original photos. But matching was slower with photos that had eyebrows erased and replaced with adjacent skin texture and colour than with original photos. The conjecture that erasure impairs recognition because it alters a face's configuration was examined by repeating the experiment with the photos shown upside down, the rationale being that because configural information is difficult to encode from inverted faces the erasure effect should diminish. With inverted faces, matching was no different for original, eyebrows-masked, and eyebrows-erased photos. Eyebrows appear to be less important for face recognition as informative parts and features than as sources of information about a face's configuration.
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