Recognizing faces defined by texture gradients

Percept Psychophys. 2005 Jan;67(1):158-67. doi: 10.3758/bf03195019.


Texture gradients can reveal surface orientation in a manner similar to shape from shading, and therefore provide an important cue for object recognition. In this study, we tested whether a complex 3-D object, such as a face, can be identified from texture gradients alone. The stimuli were laser-scanned faces for which the texture element was a fractal-noise pattern mapped onto the 3-D surface. An eight-alternative forced choice task was used in which participants matched a face defined by texture gradients to one of eight faces defined by shape from shading (Experiment 1) or by texture gradients (Experiment 2). On average, participants scored 24% and 18%, respectively, above chance in these experiments. Although this performance was much poorer than the performance based entirely on shape-from-shading stimuli (Experiment 3), the results suggest that texture gradient information may be used to recover surface geometry of complex objects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Depth Perception
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Face*
  • Field Dependence-Independence*
  • Humans
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychophysics
  • Transfer, Psychology