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Maori facial tattoo (Ta Moko): implications for face recognition processes.

By Dr. Heather Buttle

Abstract

Ta Moko is the art of the Maori tattoo. It was an integral aspect of Maori society and is currently seeing resurgence in popularity. In particular it is linked with ancestry and a sense of “Maori” pride. Ta Moko is traditionally worn by Maori males on the buttocks and on the face, while Maori women wear it on the chin and lips. With curvilinear lines and spiral patterns applied to the face with a dark pigment, the full facial Moko creates a striking appearance. Given our reliance on efficiently encoding faces this transformation could potentially interfere with how viewers normally process and recognise the human face (e.g. configural information). The pattern’s effects on recognising identity, expression, race, speech, and gender are considered, and implications are drawn, which could help wearers and viewers of Ta Moko understand why sustained attention (staring) is drawn to such especially unique faces

Topics: Applied Cognitive Psychology
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:cogprints.org:5958

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