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Facial Processing and Recognition

2. Information in a Face

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In this lecture, we think about what information is conveyed by a face, focusing in particular on: (i) the stepped process of face recognition, consisting of recognising the shapes a face consists of, putting those shapes together in your ‘mind’s eye’, and recognising the face; (ii) emotional representation as another key piece of information that can be gained from a face; (iii) lipreading as a subconscious action performed by most people when watching someone’s face while they talk; (iv) research which has found that emotional recognition, facial recognition and lipreading are all skills which can be individually lost and are therefore considered to be separate processes; (v) the distinct skills of facial recognition and labelling, compared to being able to describe the face of an individual; (vi) the important distinction between facial recognition and remembering someone’s name based on their face.


In this course, Dr Ashok Jansari (Goldsmiths, University of London) explores the process of face recognition. In the first lecture, we think about what makes a face special as a visual stimulus. In the second lecture, we think about what information a face conveys, including identity and emotions. In the third lecture, we think about why human faces are special and explore some facial interpretations, such as a face inversion effect. Next, we think about prosopagnosia, aphantasia and super-recognition abilities. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about some current research on facial recognition, including its implementation in law enforcement and surveillance.


Dr Ashok Jansari is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London. Dr Jansari’s research interests include memory disorders, prosopagnosia, executive functions, and synaesthesia. Dr Jansari is most famous for his research into prosopagnosia, having made numerous TV appearances, including on BBC1’s The One Show, as well as hosting his own ‘Neuro Talk’ YouTube channel:

Some of Dr Jansari's recent publications include 'Acquired synaesthesia following 2C-B use' (2019), 'Using virtual reality to investigate multitasking ability in individuals with frontal lobe lesions' (2019), and 'Identification from CCTV: Assessing police super-recogniser ability to spot faces in a crown and susceptibility to change blindness' (2018).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jansari, A. (2022, June 09). Facial Processing and Recognition - Information in a Face [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jansari, A. "Facial Processing and Recognition – Information in a Face." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Jun 2022,

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