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More human than human: a Turing test for photographed: a Turing test for photographed faces

Sanders, Jet Gabrielle Gabrielle, Ueda, Yoshiyuki, Yoshikawa, Sakiko and Jenkins, Rob (2019) More human than human: a Turing test for photographed: a Turing test for photographed faces. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implicators, 4 (1). ISSN 2365-7464

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s41235-019-0197-9


Background: Recent experimental work has shown that hyper-realistic face masks can pass for real faces during live viewing. However, live viewing embeds the perceptual task (mask detection) in a powerful social context that may influence respondents’ behaviour. To remove this social context, we assessed viewers’ ability to distinguish photos of hyper-realistic masks from photos of real faces in a computerised two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) procedure. Results: In experiment 1 (N = 120), we observed an error rate of 33% when viewing time was restricted to 500 ms. In experiment 2 (N = 120), we observed an error rate of 20% when viewing time was unlimited. In both experiments we saw a significant performance cost for other-race comparisons relative to own-race comparisons. Conclusions: We conclude that viewers could not reliably distinguish hyper-realistic face masks from real faces in photographic presentations. As well as its theoretical interest, failure to detect synthetic faces has important implications for security and crime prevention, which often rely on facial appearance and personal identity being related.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2019 14:24
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:40

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