A research project to better understand face recognition is starting at Bournemouth University, with participants required to help support the work.
Experts in face processing are looking at how we look at faces, and how faces transition from being unfamiliar to being highly familiar, using eye tracking software, to understand how we recognise people.
It is anticipated that the research will help in the understanding of face processing disorders, such as prosopagnosia, as well as super-recognition, the extra-ordinary ability to be able to recognise faces.
Professor Sarah Bate, from BU’s Department of Psychology, is leading the work. She said, “We have been researching face processing for a number of years now, and the insights we’ve had have been instrumental in understanding face processing disorders, and the way we learn and interact with one another through facial recognition. This latest research will give us an even greater understanding of how we process faces, the mechanisms our brains use to commit faces to memory, and how people become familiar to us.”
The research will look at participants with underdeveloped processing skills, and those with super recognition, in the hope that insight will be gained on how disorders develop, and how super recognisers differ in the memory techniques they use. It is also hoped that the research might help gain further understanding of prosopagnosia – also called face blindness – the inability to recognise familiar people by their facial features alone, a condition that could affect up to one in 50 people in the UK.
The face recognition study is looking for adult participants who either struggle or excel at face recognition. Participants will be required to visit BU’s Covid-secure labs on Talbot Campus for five consecutive days, arranged at their own convenience, for 45 minutes at a time.
Professor Bate continued, “Each day, we will measure how processing strategies change as faces become increasingly familiar to us. The research will be conducted in a safe way, and this is a real chance to help further science into face recognition, which could have a real impact in people’s lives.”
Each participant will be thanked with a £50 Amazon voucher, and the team can also help with travel expenses. For more information about the study, or to take part, email Professor Bate on [email protected]
For more information about BU’s research into face processing, visit the BU website.