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Perception. 2007;36(9):1334-52.

Things are looking up: differential decline in face recognition following pitch and yaw rotation.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong 2522, NSW, Australia.


Previous research into the effects of viewpoint change on face recognition has typically dealt with rotations around the head's vertical axis (yaw). Another common, although less studied, source of viewpoint variation in faces is rotation around the head's horizontal pitch axis (pitch). In the current study we used both a sequential matching task and an old/new recognition task to examine the effect of viewpoint change following rotation about both pitch and yaw axes on human face recognition. The results of both tasks showed that recognition performance was better for faces rotated about yaw compared to pitch. Further, recognition performance for faces rotated upwards on the pitch axis was better than for faces rotated downwards. Thus, equivalent angular rotations about pitch and yaw do not produce equivalent viewpoint-dependent declines in recognition performance.

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