A multi-sensory system for self-face learning
Authors: Estudillo, A.J. and Bindemann, M.
The face is the primary visual signpost of our identity, but the process of how we know that a particular face is one’s own has only recently started to receive considerable scientific attention. This interest has been enhanced by multisensory phenomena such as the enfacement illusion. In this illusion, watching another face being stroked in synchrony with one’s own face produces a bias in self-recognition, whereby the other face is perceived as the own. Here, we argue that the enfacement illusion demonstrates that the representation of the own face is highly flexible and can be updated rapidly. This flexibility would allow the incorporation of changes in physical appearance as a consequence of, for example, ambient within-person variability, grooming activities or ageing. We further present evidence to demonstrate that the enfacement illusion not only transcends differences in visual appearance with another face, but also moderates affective and social processing of that face.