Dr Markus Bindemann wins major grants for face recognition research

Research funded by ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust will examine how humans detect and recognise faces, with implications for the development of improved face identification technology.

Dr Markus Bindemann, Reader in Psychology, has been awarded two grants totalling over £750,000 for projects to investigate face detection and identification.

The first project, entitled ‘Face identification within realistic contexts’, will be funded by an Economic and Social Research Council grant worth £505,000.

Supported by the MET police and UK Border Force, the project involves use of virtual reality as a tool to help us understand how the external environment and social interaction affect face matching.  The research will have significant implications for theories of face identification and for the practice of real-world face matching (e.g., in airports and at borders), as well as providing important new technology for researchers in the field.

A further grant of £249,000 from the Leverhulme Trust will fund a three-year project entitled ‘Face Detection by Humans’.

The aim of the project is to find a human face detection ‘signature’. In collaboration with Dr Rob Jenkins, his co-investigator at the University of York, Markus will test the novel hypothesis that detection occurs through use of a computational average – a statistical summary of all faces one has encountered.

Dr Markus Bindemann of the University’s School of Psychology said: ‘We are delighted to conduct this important research at Kent, which will enhance our theoretical understanding of the cognitive processes underlying face detection and person identification, and also inform applied settings’.