The Role of Color in Human Face Detection

Markus Bindemann, A Mike Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Significant advances have been made in understanding human face recognition. However, a fundamental aspect of this process, how faces are located in our visual environment, is poorly understood and little studied. Here we examine the role of color in human face detection. We demonstrate that detection performance declines when color information is removed from faces, regardless of whether the surrounding scene context is rendered in color. Furthermore, faces rendered in unnatural colors are hard to detect, suggesting a role beyond simple segmentation. When faces are presented such that half the surface is colored appropriately, and half unnaturally, performance declines. This suggests that observers are not simply using the presence of skin color "patches" to detect faces. Rather, our data suggest that detection operates via a face template combining diagnostic color and face-shape information. These findings are consistent with color-template approaches used in some computer-based face detection systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1156
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive Science
Volume33
Issue number6
Early online date27 Apr 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

Keywords

  • face detection
  • color
  • scenes
  • recognition
  • attention

Cite this

The Role of Color in Human Face Detection. / Bindemann, Markus; Burton, A Mike.

In: Cognitive Science, Vol. 33, No. 6, 08.2009, p. 1144-1156.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bindemann, Markus ; Burton, A Mike. / The Role of Color in Human Face Detection. In: Cognitive Science. 2009 ; Vol. 33, No. 6. pp. 1144-1156.
@article{59f0cbe898a24652ae4e4991eada83bd,
title = "The Role of Color in Human Face Detection",
abstract = "Significant advances have been made in understanding human face recognition. However, a fundamental aspect of this process, how faces are located in our visual environment, is poorly understood and little studied. Here we examine the role of color in human face detection. We demonstrate that detection performance declines when color information is removed from faces, regardless of whether the surrounding scene context is rendered in color. Furthermore, faces rendered in unnatural colors are hard to detect, suggesting a role beyond simple segmentation. When faces are presented such that half the surface is colored appropriately, and half unnaturally, performance declines. This suggests that observers are not simply using the presence of skin color {"}patches{"} to detect faces. Rather, our data suggest that detection operates via a face template combining diagnostic color and face-shape information. These findings are consistent with color-template approaches used in some computer-based face detection systems.",
keywords = "face detection, color, scenes, recognition, attention",
author = "Markus Bindemann and Burton, {A Mike}",
year = "2009",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01035.x",
language = "English",
volume = "33",
pages = "1144--1156",
journal = "Cognitive Science",
issn = "0364-0213",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Role of Color in Human Face Detection

AU - Bindemann, Markus

AU - Burton, A Mike

PY - 2009/8

Y1 - 2009/8

N2 - Significant advances have been made in understanding human face recognition. However, a fundamental aspect of this process, how faces are located in our visual environment, is poorly understood and little studied. Here we examine the role of color in human face detection. We demonstrate that detection performance declines when color information is removed from faces, regardless of whether the surrounding scene context is rendered in color. Furthermore, faces rendered in unnatural colors are hard to detect, suggesting a role beyond simple segmentation. When faces are presented such that half the surface is colored appropriately, and half unnaturally, performance declines. This suggests that observers are not simply using the presence of skin color "patches" to detect faces. Rather, our data suggest that detection operates via a face template combining diagnostic color and face-shape information. These findings are consistent with color-template approaches used in some computer-based face detection systems.

AB - Significant advances have been made in understanding human face recognition. However, a fundamental aspect of this process, how faces are located in our visual environment, is poorly understood and little studied. Here we examine the role of color in human face detection. We demonstrate that detection performance declines when color information is removed from faces, regardless of whether the surrounding scene context is rendered in color. Furthermore, faces rendered in unnatural colors are hard to detect, suggesting a role beyond simple segmentation. When faces are presented such that half the surface is colored appropriately, and half unnaturally, performance declines. This suggests that observers are not simply using the presence of skin color "patches" to detect faces. Rather, our data suggest that detection operates via a face template combining diagnostic color and face-shape information. These findings are consistent with color-template approaches used in some computer-based face detection systems.

KW - face detection

KW - color

KW - scenes

KW - recognition

KW - attention

U2 - 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01035.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01035.x

M3 - Article

VL - 33

SP - 1144

EP - 1156

JO - Cognitive Science

JF - Cognitive Science

SN - 0364-0213

IS - 6

ER -