The Cartoonist's Trick

by Patrick Appel

Carl Zimmer mulls face blindness:

Face space also explains why the favorite trick of editorial cartoonists works so well.  By exaggerating features on a politician's face  -- Bush's eyebrows, Obama's ears -- cartoonists push it farther away from the center of face space, to places where it has less competition from other faces we have stored in our memory.  As a result, we recognize people from hand-drawn caricatures as quickly as from photographs -- and sometimes even more quickly.