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Looming motion aids short- and long-term face recognition


Pilz,  KS
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Pilz, K. (2005). Looming motion aids short- and long-term face recognition. Talk presented at AVA Christmas Meeting. Aston, UK.

Recently, there has been growing interest in the role that motion might play in the encoding and retrieval of identity. Rigid movements of the head and non-rigid facial motion have so far been investigated and it has been shown that these two types of motion can facilitate the processing of identity (O’Toole et al, 2002, Trends Cogn Sci 6:261-266; Kappmeyer et al., 2003, Vision Res 43:1921-1936). Here, we investigated another type of familiar motion, namely visual looming associated with an approaching person. Stimuli consisted of 3D laser-scanned heads that were attached to a walking avatar that could approach, recede or remain static relative to the observer. Using sequential matching (Thornton amp;amp; Kourtzi, 2002, Perception 31:113-132) and delayed visual search (Pilz et al., 2005, Exp Brain Res., in press) we found both short-term and long-term performance advantages for the dynamic, approaching stimuli. Control experiments ruled out explanations based on informational differences (mul tipl e static views) or attention (looming background). These results could have important practical implications for forensic settings and are consistent with the hypothesis that the visual system uses dynamic information to encode and subsequently recognize new facial identities.