Face Processing

| December 17, 2010

Title: Face processing : psychological, neuropsychological, and applied perspectives
Author: Graham Hole & Victoria Bourne.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
Check It Out: BF242 .H65 2010

From the Publisher:  Face Processing: psychological, neuropsychological and applied perspectives is the first major textbook for 20 years that seeks to answer questions like these. Drawing on the most recent research in the field, and organized around the three main research perspectives – psychological, neuropsychological, and applied – it provides insights on issues of relevance to students from a wide range of disciplines.

Face recognition and expression perception have generated a large amount of research over the last decade, and with high profile media coverage of related issues, such as the misidentification of Brazilian student, Jean Charles de Menezes, face processing is a hot topic within the study of psychology. Face Processing captures the excitement in the field, and with reference to a wealth of studies and real-world phenomena, it reveals how our understanding of face processing has developed over the years.

The first section of the book, on the psychological perspectives of face processing, considers how we are able to recognise familiar faces; how we can extract information such as emotion, sex and age from a face; and how face processing abilities develop.

The second section covers the neuropsychological perspectives, and examines the disorders of face recognition that arise following brain injury, and asks whether faces are a ‘special’ class of visual stimuli.

Finally, a section on the applied perspectives of face processing describes face reconstruction systems, such as Identikit and Photofit, and their limitations; it discusses methods of constructing facial composites, and the phenomenon of ‘verbal overshadowing’, whereby verbal descriptions of visual stimuli subsequently leads to a temporary impairment in people’s ability to recognise those stimuli.

Assuming no prior knowledge of the subject, this book is the perfect resource for students studying face processing as part of a psychology degree, and the breadth of its coverage makes it of relevance to computer science students, medical students with an interest in neurology, and students of forensic science, too.

About the Authors: Graham Hole is a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex. He has been researching face processing since 1994, and is the author or co-author of numerous journal articles on the topic. Most of his work has centered around investigating the nature of the ‘configural’ processing that we routinely use in order to recognize faces. Other interests include the development of face processing in children; the neuropsychology of face recognition; and how we estimate a person’s age on the basis of their face.

Victoria Bourne has been a lecturer at the University of Dundee since 2005. Her research interests centre around the development and determinants of cerebral hemispheric differences in cognitive processing, with particular expertise in the neural lateralisation of face recognition and the perception of emotional expression. Recently she was the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Laterality , on changes in emotional lateralisation throughout childhood.

On the Web:

Dr. Graham Hole