Machine Learning Applied to Perception: Decision Images for Gender Classification

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 17 (NIPS 2004)

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Felix A. Wichmann, Arnulf Graf, Heinrich Bülthoff, Eero Simoncelli, Bernhard Schölkopf


We study gender discrimination of human faces using a combination of psychophysical classification and discrimination experiments together with methods from machine learning. We reduce the dimensionality of a set of face images using principal component analysis, and then train a set of linear classifiers on this reduced representation (linear support vec- tor machines (SVMs), relevance vector machines (RVMs), Fisher linear discriminant (FLD), and prototype (prot) classifiers) using human clas- sification data. Because we combine a linear preprocessor with linear classifiers, the entire system acts as a linear classifier, allowing us to visu- alise the decision-image corresponding to the normal vector of the separ- ating hyperplanes (SH) of each classifier. We predict that the female-to- maleness transition along the normal vector for classifiers closely mim- icking human classification (SVM and RVM [1]) should be faster than the transition along any other direction. A psychophysical discrimina- tion experiment using the decision images as stimuli is consistent with this prediction.