Brain Looks Beyond Eyes to Recognize Faces: Scientists

New research shows that eyebrows, noses are key to distinguishing people
By Rebecca Smith Hurd,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2009 3:43 PM CST
A facial recognition program is demonstrated during the Biometrics 2004 exhibition and conference in London. Some scientists now believe eyebrows may be as crucial as eyes in recognizing faces.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Want to make yourself hard to recognize? Get a nose job and shave your eyebrows, say facial-recognition experts, who have yet to fully understand—or agree upon—how we “see” or “read” faces. Psychologists and neuroscientists, fueled by the need to quickly and correctly identify people in the age of terrorism, are uncovering some “unexpected data,” the Boston Globe reports.

New findings indicate the first place we look on a face is left of the nose, then at it, to determine in a split-second whether we know someone. Glasses don’t change appearance much, but shaving eyebrows is “acutely disruptive.” Men’s skin skews red, while women’s skin is greenish. Why? Scientists continue to seek answers, but suspect physiological and cognitive factors.