Anda di halaman 1dari 2

Outline and evaluate Bruce and Youngs theory of facial recognition

Bruce and Young (1986) proposed a theory of how we recognise faces. Face
recognition is very important as it allows us to form relationships, function
socially and tell differences between faces. Bruce and Youngs model presents
face recognition as a serial process where each stage is activated one after the
other. They also suggested that face recognition is a completely different process
to general object recognition.
The first route through the model is concerned with recognising familiar faces. It
starts with structural encoding, which allows a structural model of the face to be
built. The second stage is the face recognition units (FRU), which contain
information about structure of familiar faces. The third stage is the person
identity node (PIN); this is where personal information about the person is kept.
Then, the name retrieval unit (NRU) is activated, and this helps us retrieve the
name and relate it to the person. The final stage is the cognitive system, which
contains extra information about the person. These components work in
sequence i.e. PIN only after FRU.
The second route through the model is concerned with the processing of the new
faces and other information such as information about the persons emotional
state. This also starts with structural encoding and then goes to either the
expression analysis (where the persons emotional state is worked out), the facial
speech analysis (where facial movements are used to interpret speech) or the
directed visual processing (which is the processing of specific features). These
three components work in parallel. Then finally, the cognitive system, which
helps to determine which of the other components are activated.
Support for Bruce and Youngs idea that facial recognition is different to object
recognition is Fantz (1961). He studied infants and found that babies even as
young as four days old showed a preference for faces rather than jumbled
features. This could be because human infants are innately predisposed to be
interested in faces. This makes sense as an infant with this preference can better
recognise and respond to its own species. These findings are also supported by
other studies such as Goren et al (1975).
Bruce and Youngs model was based on research by Young et al (1985). He
conducted a self-report study with 22 participants and found that the
participants could never recall names without having any relevant personal
information about the person. This is explained by the serial nature of the model
(PIN before NRU). However, this study has a small sample size the results should
not be generalised to the public. Also, the self-report diaries from each
participant could be biased and not completely accurate. On the other hand,
Stanhope and Cohen (1993) counter the models predictions as they found that
their participants could retrieve names even without having any information
about personal identity.
The model does explain differences between familiar and unfamiliar faces and it
generates predictions that can be tested. But, the details of unfamiliar face
processing are vague and the function of the cognitive system is unclear.

In 1993, Burton and Bruce created a new model (IAC model) which is a
connectivist model proposing that facial recognition involves a large number of
complexly connected nodes rather than the serially linked units of Bruce and
Youngs model. This model is a modern understanding with fresh information
about how brain processes work.
The idea that face recognition is special, and not just an example of object
recognition in general is what Bruce and Youngs model is based on. Support for
this idea comes from studies of people with prosopagnosia. More support comes
from Sergent et al (1992) who found in recent neurological studies that the
fusiform face area (FFA) is active when processing faces but not when processing
objects, suggesting that they are two separate processes.
Bruce and Youngs model would be irrelevant if face recognition is not special.
Evidence to support this comes from Diamond and Carey, who found that
expertise may activate FFA and that face processing simply is a form of expert
object recognition.
The face recognition model has many real world applications such as facial
security systems and can help to assist police in producing accurate eyewitness
records. This means the model has high ecological validity.