Re: Recognition of photos

Iain Davidson (idavidso@METZ.UNE.EDU.AU)
Tue, 25 Jul 1995 13:56:52 +1000

>Thomas Mennicken has raised the question of whether or not traditional people
>are able to recognize objects in photographs. For what it's worth.....
>I don't know if it's a joke, a myth, or what, but as a student back in the
>sixties, I clearly recall being told by my professor that certain New Guinea
>tribesmen were unable to discern faces in photographs. However, when the
>photographs were manipulated such that the eyes could be made to open and
>close (by a second layer of moving paper) supposedly the people *suddenly saw
>* the image of a face. This has always been a very attractive image for me:
>that of the "Ah, ha" response from someone not familiar with technological
>ways of looking at things. But it may be entirely bogus. I just have the word
>of someone who (I now know) wasn't all that qualified to be teaching
>Anthropology anyway. I look forward to new posts about this question.
>L. Anthony Zalucha

Jan Derengowski supposedly showed stick drawings of cows to people and
found that they could only recognise them if he drew the dewlap in.
Unfortunately we have been unable totrace these pictures. Of course there
is another layer of convention here, but I believe Derengowski did similar
work with photographs.

Iain Davidson
Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology
University of New England
Armidale, NSW 2351
Tel +61 +67 732 441
Fax +61 +67 732 526