Center Papers

Nestor, Plaut & Behrmann (2013)

Nestor, A., Plaut, D.C., and Behrmann, M. (2013). Face space architectures: Evidence for the use of independent color-based features. Psychological Science, 24, 1294-1300. doi:10.1177/0956797612464889 ____________________________________________________________________________________________

The concept of psychological face space lies at the core of many theories of face recognition and representation. To date, much of the understanding of face space has been based on principal component analysis (PCA); the structure of the psychological space is thought to reflect some important aspects of a physical face space characterized by PCA applications to face images. In the present experiments, we investigated alternative accounts of face space and found that independent component analysis provided the best fit to human judgments of face similarity and identification. Thus, our results challenge an influential approach to the study of human face space and provide evidence for the role of statistically independent features in face encoding. In addition, our findings support the use of color information in the representation of facial identity, and we thus argue for the inclusion of such information in theoretical and computational constructs of face space.