Inspired, in part, by Tanaka and Farah’s 1993 work on people’s ability (or not) to recognise faces with noses in the wrong place (see part 1) professors Isabel Gauthier and Michael J. Tarr decided to refine the research by creating their own ‘families’ of recognisable non-face entities – which they called ‘Greebles’.
A Greeble has several readily identifiable attributes – namely a Quiff, two Boges and a Dunth. (see the picture at right of one of the Greeble family – this one has a notably pronounced Dunth.)
In resonance with the ‘Larry’s Nose’ study, participants tried to recognise not just the Greebles, but also their various body parts shown in isolation.
“These results suggest that expertise at discriminating between visually similar objects, such as Greebles or faces, produces the obtained sensitivity to configural transformations.”
The team’s paper Becoming a “Greeble” expert: Exploring mechanisms for face recognition. was published in Vision Research, Vol. 37, No. 12, pp. 1673–1682,1997.
Disambiguational note: A ‘Greeble’ is also a term also used for “…a small piece of detailing added to break up the surface of an object to add visual interest to a surface or object, particularly in movie special effects.”
BONUS Click here for a picture of a ‘Greebled’ Greeble.
Coming soon : Recognitions – part 3 – CNBC.