Tag: faces

Why People of Other Races "All Look Alike" to You

By Jennifer Welsh | November 9, 2010 12:31 pm

babiesSome may say it as a joke, others might find it offensive, but it turns out there’s some truth to the idea that people of other races “all look alike.” A new study demonstrates that people have more trouble recognizing faces of people of other races.

While this effect has been observed for almost a hundred years, scientists still don’t fully understand why it happens and who it happens to, explains Ars Technica:

It has been suggested that the other race effect is simply a result of differing amounts of facial variation between races, or varying observational abilities of particular races. However, in this study, subjects of both races showed the same trends, suggesting that the other race effect is a generalized phenomenon experienced by people of more than one race.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: What’s Inside Your Brain?

Police Photos of Missing Children Are Too “Happy,” Researchers Say

By Nina Bai | October 31, 2008 10:26 am

missing childHave you seen this child—looking like this? A new study suggests authorities are using the wrong kind of photos to locate missing children. Parents of missing children are usually asked to provide a recent school photo, which typically show smiling, clean, and dressed-up children. But these photos don’t accurately depict the state of kidnapped children (which is what the average missing child would be), who usually look upset, tired, and unkempt.

Researchers at Mississippi State University asked 150 adults to look at photos of children, some in “clean” states and others in “dirty” states. (For the “dirty” states, the children were photographed with makeup to simulate dirt and bruises.) The adults were then shown another set of photos and asked if they recognized the children from the previous photos. People were better at recognizing children shown in similar states, and the advantage became more apparent when the researchers inserted a delay (10 minutes, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, or 12 weeks) between the two sets of photos. This means that even someone who has seen a picture of a missing child might easily overlook the same child on the street.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Crime & Punishment
MORE ABOUT: crime, faces, psychology

What Angry Headlights You Have: Humans Don’t Like “Happy” Cars

By Nina Bai | October 16, 2008 2:41 pm

bmwWe make snap judgments about strangers based on their faces. We even do this with inanimate objects, conjuring up human-like faces in furniture, appliances, and office supplies. A new study finds that when it comes to cars, we like their “expressions” angry and mean.

Researchers in Vienna asked people to rate “headshots” of 38 cars using a list of 18 traits, including childlike, hostile, happy, and neurotic. The participants were also asked to draw the facial features they saw in the cars. Vehicles with wide stances, tapered windshields, and wide-set, angled headlights were the most liked (Lightning McQueen from Cars seems to qualify—as does Stephen King’s Christine) and scored high on traits associated with power, such as adult, dominant, arrogant, angry, masculine, and hostile. A typical “power” car was the scowling BMW 5 Series, while a smiling Toyota Prius ranked the fourth lowest on the list.

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MORE ABOUT: cars, faces
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