2014 volume 43(1) pages 99 – 102
doi:10.1068/p7604

Cite as:
Carbon C-C, Wirth B E, 2014, "Neanderthal paintings? Production of prototypical human (Homo sapiens) faces shows systematic distortions" Perception 43(1) 99 – 102

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Neanderthal paintings? Production of prototypical human (Homo sapiens) faces shows systematic distortions

Claus-Christian Carbon, Benedikt Emanuel Wirth

Abstract. People’s sketches of human faces seem to be systematically distorted: the eye position is always higher than in reality. This bias was experimentally analyzed by a series of experiments varying drawing conditions. Participants either drew prototypical faces from memory (studies 1 and 2: free reconstruction; study 3: cued reconstruction) or directly copied average faces (study 4). Participants consistently showed this positioning bias, which is even in accord with facial depictions published in influential research articles by famous face researchers (study 5). We discuss plausible explanations for this reliable and stable bias, which is coincidentally similar to the morphology of Neanderthals.
Keywords: face processing, bias, configural processing, imagery, recall, configuration, Neanderthals

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