Faces and identity. Face states are dynamic and transient

Faces are multi
dimensional visual stimuli providing wide
range of information to the observer
(Lee Ket al, 2009).Faces are one of those stimuli which consist of the
maximum information that can be perceived. In just the glimpse of a second one
can perceive the age, gender, race, mood, identity and also direction of attention(Tsao &
Livingstone, 2008). Recognition of faces is every crucial for social species as their decision based on all the
primitive needs such as fear, protection, flight , flee etc completely depends upon the facial recognition (Pascalis, de
Viviés, et al., 2011). The information perceived by the observer when
looked at a face can be divided into two different stimuli those are face traits and face states. Face traits
are visual information’s that are relatively permanent and stable which
includes age, aesthetics, race, gender and identity. Face states are dynamic
and transient those are speech process, emotions, intentions and attention(Pascalis, de
Martin de Vivies, et al., 2011). Once the face is been viewed it triggers the
two factors that is recognition and categorization.
Bruce and Young proposed a stepwise
model which stated that categorization of faces according to their race,
gender, and other social attributes happens at an early stage of “structural
encoding”, before the ‘face recognition units'(Pascalis, de Viviés, et al., 2011).Face perception is person’s ability to
understand and interpret the human face based on the associated information
processing in the brain (Fantz, 1961).

 Two types of information have been identified
as crucial for face processing(Calder, 2011). Feature information and configure
information. Among the different types of face feature information, a
distinction has been made between the internal face features (eyes, nose, and
mouth) and the external features (hairstyle and jaw-line). While both types of
feature information are important for face recognition, the internal features
are considered to be more critical in adult face processing expertise (Tanaka
JW et al, 1993). The other important
source of information is the configure that refers to the spatial relationships
between the features of a face (e.g., distance
between the eyes, nose, and mouth). Face processing is said to be distinct from non-face object
processing in that it is more “holistic”; that is, faces are
represented as non-decomposed wholes, rather than as a combination of
independently-represented component parts (eyes, nose, mouth), and the
relations between them (Farah
et al 1998). Evidence for holistic processing of
faces comes from a number of behavioural paradigms, of which the two most cited
are the part-whole effect (Tanaka & Farah 1993) and the composite effect (Young et al 1987). In the part-whole effect, subjects are better able to
distinguish two face parts when the parts are presented in the context of a
whole face than in isolation. Holistic information is fusion of feature and configures information
into an integral part (Pascalis, de Viviés, et al., 2011).

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Eye tracking

      Eye tracking is the method used to study
the visual attention of the individuals. Eye tracking measures the eye activity
in order to understand the fixations and extra attention paid to certain
objects, picture, words etc. In 1879 Louis Emile Javal first observed that
while reading there are series of short gaps called fixations and quick spontaneous movement of both eyes called
saccades. Edmund Huey was first one to build the eye tracker using lenses and
aluminium pointer which moved according to the movement of eye. The first non
intrusive machine was built by Guy Thomas Buswell using light beams that
reflected on eyes and then recorded them using film. By 1970s much sophisticated eye trackers were built
which had its applications in psychology, commercial purposes etc. The well
known and mostly used is the PCCR (Pupil
Centre Corneal Reflection). The concept of this method is basically to use the
light sources to cause illumination in the visual reflections of the eyes and
capturing the eye movements. The captured data is used to identify the reflection
of light source on cornea and pupil(Tobii eye trackers ,2015). The interpretation of the eye tracking data is conducted
by analyzing the visual path of the participants across the interface like for
example; computer screens are most used for this interpretation purpose. The data
obtained is than converted into different set of pixel coordinates using this
presence and absence of eye data is been studied.

Psychologists think that eyeball movement
is the direct reaction of visual process and cognitive activities of a variety
of humans. The information processing of human brain depends heavily on vision,
and about 80%-90% of the external information is obtained through the eyes. Eye
tracking technology can record the process and level of cognitive processing.
The research of O’Regan, McConkie and Rayner, etc. showed that eye movement speed, eye
beating distance, fixation time and scan route etc. were effective index for
analyzing the brain cognitive process, the comprehensive analysis of the index
could reveal the change of complex cognitive activities. At the same time, eye
movement characteristics are a physiological index for emotion, so the people’s
cognitive process can be analyzed through the eye tracking technology.(Xiuyin, 2013)

Since the 1950’s researchers have studied how facerecognition is processed by the brain.
Their finding has consisted of eye
tracking to process facial features. The research revealed triangular sequence
fixation of over region constituting of eyes and mouth (Noton &
Stark, 1971).  Building
on the systematic fixation of eyes to process
faces, current work involves seeing if there is a difference in eye tracking
between subjects from two different races on how they process faces (Blais, Jack, Scheepers, Fiset,
& Caldara, 2008).  In order to explore how culture influence eye
tracking and image processing by brain earlier work focussed on visual scene
processing or simple categorisation task (Simoncelli, 2003). However, Blais et(Blais et al., 2008) all argue that this is not
enough as human faces are homogenous objects , where in general have similar
distinct features across race.  Even
though considerable work has been done by to get an insight how people from
different cultures processed faces and used various different strategies to
answer it, Blais et (Blais et al., 2008) conducted an experiment between
Western Caucasian and East Asian face. In the experiment, they had  14 western caucasian and 14 East Asian participants
where they were shown adifferent face,and while they were identifying and
processing the image, their eye movements were recorded and analysed.  The aim of the study was to get an insight
how people from different race identify faces and whether the eye movement is
same across race while identifying images.

In terms of the participant, the
researchers have chosen a good balance between participants from both the
Western Caucasian and that of the Eastern Asian community. A balance between
male and female participants was also maintained , this ensures that the
results were not biased in terms of gender or number of participants. In term
of participants, the East Asian participants were based in East Asia and were
visiting the UK on a student visa. Researchers over here were aiming to
identify participants who have no or little exposure of Western Caucasian
people in their day to do life,and while considering Western Caucasian, they
used people who are based in theUK.  However,
even though it’s a good strategy one would argue since both the participants
are coming from thedifferentgeographic region they might display different eye
tracking movent, that could be influenced by anumber of factors such as weatherconditions
of that geographic region(Ahlstrom & Friedman-Berg,
2006) or  duration of day etc. We feel the authors
should have included East Asian participants living in the UK and Western
Caucasian who have considerably lived in East Asia to have eliminated the doubt
that region could also affect eye tracking and people from the different region
have than race.

During the procedure of recording
where participants were shown images of faces of both Caucasians and that of East
Asians. Again researchers ensured that a goodbalanced number of images were
showed so that there was no bias towards any image of any race. Also,
precautions were made to keep a balance between images of that of men and
women. However, little is said about the image , was the image just a close up
of face or was it a full-size image. If it was a full-size image, were the
subjects in the image were ethnic clothes or were the participants wearing
western clothes. This leaves doubt in the reader’s mind that again could make
the results bias.

While looking at the results ,
the authors have used mixed ANOVA  that compares
the mean differences between different groups that have  been split based on certain factors.(Laerd statistics, 2018). However, the authors have not
justified the usage of this method, why they have specifically used it,
whereasother approaches such as Observation Oriented Modeling (Grice, Craig, & Abramson,
2015) could have been explored.

An interesting observation was
recorded during the experimental phase that western caucasian were more fixated
on the eye region whereas the East Asian were more fixated towards the mouth
region. This was an interesting finding of the experiment however little was
discussed as to why this was . Was this because of the of cultural difference,
could it be because East Asian culturally avoid direct eye contact and focus
more on the central part of the phase. Also, as subjects were both from China
and Japan that have completely different culture is it safe to assume that both
their behaviour be same, or will the results be same if there were only Chinese
students or only Japanese students. As both Chinese and Japanese come from
completely different culture , could it be possible that way they recognise
facial feature maybedifferent from each other?

However, the result has moved
focus from previous studies where the cultural diversity was explored using
scenic perception.  In earlier studies context
has been that Western Caucasian look at salient features whereas East Asian (
Chinese, Japenese etc.) look at contextual details to process information.
Building on this hypothesisMiyamatoet al.(Miyamoto, Nisbett, &
Masuda, 2006) conducted anexperimentwith
images of theenvironment in particular to cities from Japan and that from
America. They found that East Asian particularly images relating to Japan
contained more context than images from America. They found that cultural
images do influence pattern of perception. Similarly, in another study to look
at whether East Asian pay more attention to context that Western Caucasian
Masuda and Nisbett conducted anexperiment using theanimated underwater image
and that of wildlife(Masuda & Nisbett, 2001).  In their experiment, they used  animated vignettes of underwater scenes and
asked the participant to report back as much details as possible. Subsequently,
they also asked participants to look at wildlife image and then asked them to
provide as much details as possible. In both, the experiment it was found that
the East Asian give more attention to context than western Caucasian did. However,
both the study gave little insight on how the humans were processing this
information or whether we can provide evidence somehow to support the results.
It was in 2003 that Findlay and Gilchrist treated vision as an active process (Findlay & Gilchrist, 2003) and one can build on that by
using eye tracking movement to give evidence on how East Asian or Western
Caucasian process information retrieved from an image. The authors of the paper
we were reviewing used eye tracking to provide further information regarding
how East Asian and Western Caucasian process information.However, based on their results using the
eye tracking technique it was shown that East Asian tend to avoid eye contact
and focus more in the central part of thefacetowards the mouth whereas the Western
Caucasian focus towards the eyes. These results gave insight that how cultures
can train thehuman mind to recognize different images based on various facial
features or how culture dictates which facial features are more relevant to
recognize someone from a different race. However, it was unclear whether the
results were biased because of solely because of culture or because of race. As
the participants that were chosen even though form East Asia (mix of Japanese
and Chinese) but were coming from different cultures and race. Also , it would
have been interesting if an East Asian born in theUK were selected as one of
the participants to see does geographic location or upbringing in different
culture effect the eye tracking or how one does perceive information.