Face Perception  book cover
1st Edition

Face Perception

ISBN 9781841698786
Published February 8, 2012 by Psychology Press
512 Pages

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

Human faces are unique biological structures that convey a complex variety of important social messages. Even strangers can tell things from our faces – our feelings, our locus of attention, something of what we are saying, our age, sex and ethnic group, whether they find us attractive. In recent years there has been genuine progress in understanding how our brains derive all these different messages from faces and what can happen when one or other of the structures involved is damaged.

Face Perception provides an up-to-date, integrative summary by two authors who have helped develop and shape the field over the past 30 years. It encompasses topics as diverse as the visual information our brains can exploit when we look at faces, whether prejudicial attitudes can affect how we see faces, and how people with neurodevelopmental disorders see faces. The material is digested and summarised in a way that is accessible to students, within a structure that focuses on the different things we can do with faces. It offers a compelling synthesis of behavioural, neuropsychological and cognitive neuroscience approaches to develop a distinctive point of view of the area.

The book concludes by reviewing what is known about the development of face processing and re-examines the question of what makes faces ‘special’. Written in a clear and accessible style, this is invaluable reading for all students and researchers interested in studying face perception and social cognition.

Table of Contents

    Introduction 1. The Face: Organ of Communication 2. The Science and Methods of Face Perception Research 3. Social Categories 4. Messages From Facial Movements 5. Gaze and Attention 6. Recognising Faces 7. Beyond the Face: Person Perception 8. Nature and Nurture

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    Vicki Bruce has taught and researched aspects of visual perception, particularly face perception, since completing her PhD in 1977. Vicki has held chairs in psychology at the universities of Nottingham, Stirling, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

    Andy Young has more than 35 years of experience researching different aspects of face perception. He has held posts at the universities of Aberdeen, Lancaster, Durham and York, and with the Medical Research Council.

    The authors’ seminal paper on the theoretical framework for the field of face recognition was published in the British Journal of Psychology in 1986. A special issue of the British Journal of Psychology, entitled Person Perception 25 Years After Bruce and Young (1986), is due to be published in 2011.

    The authors were awarded the 2001 BPS Book Award for their work on face perception.


    "This book represents an excellent update of the seminal model by Vicki Bruce and Andy Young (1986) on face perception. The authors review an astonishing range of behavioural and cognitive neuroscience studies and provide an integrative perspective that expands the readers' horizon on two key questions in research on faces: which are the pivotal factors that allow encoding of different aspects of facial information, and how are they decoded in the perceiver's brain? The book has the potential to become the benchmark for researchers and students working in the field of face perception, but importantly goes well beyond that audience. ... In summary, this book covers all important aspects of face perception, is a joy to read, and will attract attention of scientists beyond its field, including psychologists working in related areas of research, neuroanatomists, and even philosophers." - Thomas Ethofer, University of Tübingen, Germany, in Perception

    "Drawing from 25 years of collabroative research in this area, Bruce and Young have compiled and summarized a wealth of research in facial recognition and organized it into a well-structured series of presentations. ... Recommended [for] lower and upper division undergraduates and graduate students." - P. Flattau, Institute for Defense Analyses, in CHOICE

    "An important and scholarly book. ... I would highly recommend Face Perception to anyone with an interest in understanding contemporary research in visual perception. The research that is highlighted has important implications for understanding how complex figures with semantically meaningful content are processed." - Paula Goolkasian, The University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA in PsycCRITIQUES

    "This is the best book available on face perception. It is interesting for students at advanced levels, as well as those interested in how face perception actually works." - Frans A.J. Verstraten, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

    "This is a truly wonderful and authoritative book, and one that will definitely attract great scientific and public attention. A must-read - I genuinely enjoyed reading the text and almost regretted it when I came to the end!" - Stefan R. Schweinberger, DFG Research Unit Person Perception, Friedrich Schiller University, Germany

    "This comprehensive and authoritative text demonstrates the authors' huge breadth of knowledge on this subject. All of the main issues in the face perception area are covered in a comprehensive and clear manner. It is a ‘must have’ for psychologists and also for those studying computer science, neuroscience and other social sciences." - Karen Lander, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK