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When It Comes To Recognizing Someone, Body Of Person May Be More Important Than Face

(Credit: John Ostapkovich)

(Credit: John Ostapkovich)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While most people think they rely heavily on facial features to recognize a friend from afar, a new study disputes that.

According to research from The University of Texas at Dallas, it’s actually the body of another person that we tend to focus on to aid recognition rather than the face.

When research participants were asked to look at a number of photographs of people in different settings and match the ones that showed the same person, scientists found that the test subjects were more easily able to match up photos that captured the person in the photo’s entire body – not the ones where the bodies were less visible but the faces clearer.

“Paradoxically, people reported relying heavily on facial features over noninternal face and body features in making their identity decisions,” the study abstract says. “Eye movements indicated otherwise, with gaze duration and fixations shifting adaptively toward the body and away from the face when the body was a better indicator of identity than the face.”

“Human identity processing may be partially inaccessible to conscious awareness,” the study concludes.

To read more on the study, click here.