The face and person perception: Insights from social cognition


Kimberly A. Quinn, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK (e-mail:


Social-cognitive investigations of face perception have tended to be motivated by different goals than cognitive and neuropsychological studies—namely, to understand the dynamics of social categorization rather than identity recognition—and the result has been a lack of cross-pollination of insights and ideas between the disciplines. We review the evidence from social cognition, with an eye to discussing how this work aligns with the Bruce and Young (1986) model of face recognition. Acknowledging the invaluable impact the model has exerted on our understanding of face recognition, we suggest that considering the bottom-up constraints of visual processing and the top-down influences of semantic knowledge will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of face perception.