Thursday, June 9, 2016

Mooney Faces

What is represented by these black and white compositions? 

Perhaps it would be easier if we rotated the images 180 degrees:

It doesn't take much information for our visual system to be able to recognize a face.

We're hardwired to find faces in patterns of information. Even if the information is highly degraded, the face emerges. However, our performance drops off considerably with inverted faces.

At the moment we recognize the face, the facial recognition areas in our brain become active. 

That moment of recognition is called perceptual closure by Craig Mooney, who developed this test for his research on perception. 
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Junaid Shahid said...

but these faces are not clear it look likes africans not monkeys
regards pkcod

James Gurney said...

Junaid, Mooney faces, not monkey faces!

Tom Hart said...

This must explain (at least partly) why it's effective, when working on a portrait, to invert the support and the reference (assuming the later is a pint or screen reference!), temporarily anyway, for purposes of checking/comparison. We thing less of "face" then, and think more in terms of value or color areas.

Newt said...

Tom - Now I'm imagining a portraitist who makes his subjects sit in an elaborate gimballed chair so he can invert them when needed...

Tom Hart said...

Newt - I think that's how the spike hair style came to be :).

Another option (to avoid the spikey haired portrait). Would be to put the artist and easel on the invertable rig. (What's the rock band that does/did that with the drummer?)

Bob said...

Great post. This really highlights how getting the likeness of a portrait is all about the big general shapes of a face, instead of all the little details that sometimes give one the false hope of getting the likeness through them. It often times feels like if one could just catch all the little details that the likeness would be achieved, but that is really an illusion and it's all about the big general shapes. There is this interesting quote I read of Ingres which I can paraphrase as "Details are great gossips. One must quieten them."