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Impact Factor:0.906
Source:2014 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2015)

Neanderthal Paintings? Production of Prototypical Human (Homo Sapiens) Faces Shows Systematic Distortions

  1. Claus-Christian Carbon1,2
  2. Benedikt Emanuel Wirth1
  1. 1 Department of General Psychology and Methodology, University of Bamberg, 96047 Bamberg, Germany
  2. 2 Graduate School of Affective and Cognitive Sciences (BaGrACS), Bamberg, Germany
  1. e-mail: ccc{at}experimental-psychology.com


People's sketches of human faces seem to be systematically distorted: The eye position is always higher than in reality. This bias was experimentally analyzed by a series of experiments varying drawing conditions. Participants either drew prototypical faces from memory (studies 1 and 2: free reconstruction; study 3: cued reconstruction) or directly copied average faces (study 4). Participants consistently showed this positioning bias, which is even in accord with facial depictions published in influential research articles by famous face researchers (study 5). We discuss plausible explanations for this reliable and stable bias, which is coincidentally similar to the morphology of Neanderthals.

  • Received September 12, 2013.
  • Revision received January 14, 2014.
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