Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Face Recognition’

Famous or Not: the Competition between Familiarity and Recollection

December 7th, 2020 No comments

Do you know Brett Cohen? Sounds familiar? Even if you answered no, just keep reading. Let me show you how he made himself “famous” in one night.

Brett Cohen was a YouTuber who dreamed of being famous. One day, he decided to do a celebrity prank in the busiest streets in New York City and to see what it feels like to be at the center of attention. Brett dressed like a typical celebrity: a striped shirt with top buttons unbuttoned, sunglasses (classic!), and combed hair. He also hired some people to pretend as his bodyguards, personal assistants, and even paparazzi and reporters. Off he went, on this exciting journey. Once Brett walked from the NBC Observation Deck into the public, guess what? The crowd went nuts. People formed circles around him, yelled his name, and rushed to get a picture with him. When people were asked where they knew Brett from, they all responded with Spider-Man. One of the conversations went like this:

Common Cohen (up) vs Famous Cohen (bottom) How did he trick people into thinking that he was a celebrity? (pictures from Cohen 2012)

The “reporter”: Do you know Brett Cohen? 
The guy: Yea.
The “reporter”: Where do you know him from?
The guy: Well, when he was in Spider-Man? 
The “reporter”: Yea?
The guy: Yea. Very good actor.
The “reporter”: You liked him there?
The guy: Yea.
(Cohen 2012)

Read more…

Never Doubt The Power of Patterns

November 30th, 2020 No comments

Imagine starting every day being dropped in a maze you have never seen before and having to find the exit. Nothing is familiar. Nothing is recognizable. Success is determined through trial and error, and every day starts from ground zero. Frustrating? Yes. Inefficient? Absolutely! This is a world without two cognitive processes called pattern recognition and unconscious inference. These cognitive processes influence real-life behaviors, activities, and outcomes. It is because of these processes we take many things we do effortlessly every day for granted.But what is pattern recognition and how does it play an important role in our everyday lives? Pattern recognition is a cognitive process that refers to our ability to recognize the large amounts of objects in our environment and then label and identify these objects. Pattern recognition is our ability to identify myriad different patterns, transform these patterns into individual, unique, and respective mental representations stored in memory, and then be able to retrieve this information and apply it to new incoming environmental stimuli to recognize new objects (Michaels & Carello, 1981).

Read more…

A Stereotypical Blog Post

November 27th, 2020 No comments

During my sophomore year of high school, my once favorite teacher, Mrs. Kahler, looked at me and exclaimed, “You’re lucky! God taught you Jews how to handle money well! It’s in your blood.” At the time, I actually didn’t mind. I had heard my fair share of jokes about Jews and, perhaps naturally, something about me—be it my nose, financial status, or diet—always seemed to be the punchline. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but inform her that those “Jews are great with money” jokes aren’t funny—nor are they particularly accurate. Unfortunately, this kind of experience is common. In fact, even Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has to deal with harmful, pejorative stereotypes. Most recently, Harris experienced these stereotypes from President Donald Trump himself, as he appeared to weaponize the classic trope of the ‘angry Black woman,’ labeling her “nasty,” “mad,” and “angry” after an impressive cross-examination of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. More recently, Harris faced public criticismoften from conservative men, and supporters of President Trump—following her debate against Vice President Mike Pence, after she faced repeated interruptions and simply attempted to keep the discussion fair by saying, “I’m speaking.”

Read more…

Are you sure about that? How different lineup presentations affect eyewitness testimony

November 24th, 2020 No comments

Jennifer Thompson’s life was picture perfect. She was set to graduate college with a perfect GPA and she was well-liked amongst her peers. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Until the night of July 28th, 1984. An attacker broke into her apartment, held her at knife-point, and raped her. Determined not to die that night and for justice to be served, Thompson burned the face of her attacker into her memory so that she could recognize him later. Thompson chose Ronald Cotton as her attacker in two different lineups. Cotton was then sent to prison based primarily on Thompson’s eyewitness identification. Thompson celebrated that night when Cotton was taken away, because justice served that night. The man who committed a heinous crime against her, was in prison, and she had won. However, when DNA evidence was tested 11 years later, Thompson found out that Cotton was innocent and that she was responsible for sending an innocent man to prison. Her attacker was actually a man named Bobby Poole. Later, when Thompson saw Bobby Poole’s face, she did not even recognize him as her attacker.

Cotton (left) and Poole (right). Would you be able to tell the difference?

This is a familiar story of approximately 300 individuals who were sent to jail based primarily on eyewitness identification, only to be exonerated years later with DNA evidence. The Innocence Project works at helping individuals stuck in this situation. In addition to the Innocence Project’s work, we should also be working towards reforming the aspects of the criminal justice system that involves eyewitness testimony processes. 

Read more…

Toast and a side of Pareidolia all for the bargain price of $28,000!

November 19th, 2020 No comments

Imagine yourself on a chilly day cooking up a nice golden-brown grilled cheese sandwich. You go to take your first bite, when all of a sudden you see the Virgin Mary staring back at you imprinted in the char of the toast. This is how Diane Duyser started one of her days back in 1994, thinking that she had been blessed by the Virgin Mary because of this imagery on her toast. This grilled cheese sandwich ended up being sold for $28,000 because Duyser was able to market it as having mystical powers. However, mechanisms of cognitive psychology would reveal that the true power at work in this story is pareidolia.

Diane Duyser and her famous piece of toast. (https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/ article223937640.html)

Pareidolia is the tendency to perceive an often meaningful entity in a random or ambiguous stimulus like a cloud, cabinet, or mountain. I will be focusing on face pareidolia, which is the most common form of pareidolia (Taubert, Wardle, Flessert, Leopold, & Ungerleider, 2017). Face Pareidolia can be specifically defined as seeing face-like features in everyday objects. Some additional examples of face pareidolia can be seen below with the flower meme and trashcan meme examples. (Here are 30 more examples!) Now that you’ve had a few laughs about these often hilarious faces, it is time to answer the question: how and why do we experience pareidolia? Read more…

Do You See What I See? I See Jesus in Toast!

April 25th, 2018 2 comments

Have you ever gone to hang up your coat and thought, “An angry octopus is staring right at me!” Did you wonder afterwards if this is common and if everyone was seeing what you were seeing? This is known as a phenomenon called pareidolia, where external stimuli (such as coat hangers) trigger perceptions of non-existent entities (such as faces) presenting an erroneous match between internal representations and sensory inputs (Liu et al., 2014). Face pareidolia is the most common form, which is where humans tend to see faces in non-face objects (Ichikawa et al., 2011). Some examples include seeing a face in the clouds, Jesus in toast, or the Virgin Mary in a tortilla (to see more cool examples of pareidolia, click here!) How and why does this happen?

Washing Machine Pareidolia Example

Angry Octopus Pareidolia Example

To examine these questions, we must delve into the process of pattern recognition and face recognition in cognitive psychology. Pattern recognition is the process of constructing a mental representation and assigning meaning to it. Pattern recognition relies tremendously on top-down processing, which is the idea that we use prior knowledge, context, and expectations to aid our perceptions.

Read more…

Everything has Feelings – Anthropomorphize with Me Now

April 17th, 2017 6 comments

Image result for pixar lamp

Do you often find yourself talking to things that can’t respond?  What about not wanting to throw things away because you’ll hurt their feelings?  Do you give inanimate objects personalities?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you anthropomorphize!  Also, your amygdala is probably fine and you probably aren’t autistic.

Read more…

T-E-A-M GO TEAM: The Cheerleader Effect

April 17th, 2017 3 comments

Middle School Man…

In middle school I hated the popular girls because they were so damn pretty. Have you ever hated a group of people because they were good looking? Maybe you thought that a team was automatically attractive without seeing every member? If so then you, like middle-school-me, have fallen victim to the Cheerleader Effect. Read more…

Pleasure from your pain: how the empathy bias makes us kinda shitty people

April 17th, 2017 9 comments

Notice the girl wearing a white sweater in the background smiling as she walks by? Her reaction could be a perfect example of the empathy bias. (https://giphy.com/search/mean-girls

Remember in high school when there was that clique (or whatever the boy-version of a clique would be called) that you absolutely loved to hate and got a sense of personal pleasure when something went wrong for a member of the group? For example, when the fourteen-year-old you watched that annoyingly pretty girl drop her lunch in the cafeteria all over her side-kick best friend, you laughed and felt a swell of happiness. I might not be able to claim that you’re not still a slightly shitty person for feeling that way, but cognitive psychology research may have some reasoning behind those feelings and it’s called the empathy bias.

Read more…

Why Do You See That Face that’s NOT There?

April 17th, 2017 3 comments

Have you ever thought about seeing things that are not there? At first glance, this might sound like a bizarre suggestion, unless, of course, you are a philosophically-minded person (if that’s the case, read Descartes!); it is, undoubtedly, a logical possibility, but it is a possibility that seems only able to realize itself in a movie, or in the cases of unfortunate people who suffer from mental disorders. But interestingly, this kind of phenomenon does exist in our life, and it is actually very prevalent, at least for seeing one particular object: faces.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

I guess you are now suspicious, but recall the last time that you or someone else saw a face in the cloud; or this image showing a cute, smiling “face” on the back of a chair. But obviously, there is no face. Still, we recognize them, with considerable ease. This tendency for us to see faces where there aren’t any is called face pareidolia. And this tendency can be very useful, and sometimes even profitable. Artists, such as Giuseppe Arcimboldo, have long exploited this tendency to create some of the most imaginative paintings (to read more about Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s work, click here); moreover, the ability to see Virgin Mary in toast is obviously worth 28,000 dollars on eBay (to see the news, click here). Given its prevalence and potential value, it’s natural to wonder how exactly do we recognize those non-existent faces? Saddly, I don’t know the answer for sure, but perhaps I could offer some possible explanation.

Read more…