The role of color in human face detection

Markus Bindemann*, A. Mike Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Significant advances have been made in understanding human face recognition. However, a fundamental aspect of this process, how faces are located in our visual environment, is poorly understood and little studied. Here we examine the role of color in human face detection. We demonstrate that detection performance declines when color information is removed from faces, regardless of whether the surrounding scene context is rendered in color. Furthermore, faces rendered in unnatural colors are hard to detect, suggesting a role beyond simple segmentation. When faces are presented such that half the surface is colored appropriately, and half unnaturally, performance declines. This suggests that observers are not simply using the presence of skin color "patches" to detect faces. Rather, our data suggest that detection operates via a face template combining diagnostic color and face-shape information. These findings are consistent with color-template approaches used in some computer-based face detection systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1156
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Science
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The role of color in human face detection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this