Face to face with the ‘average Dundonian’

Hundreds of real life pictures created the average male and female
Hundreds of real life pictures created the average male and female
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THE face of the “average Dundonian” has been revealed by a new university study.

Abertay University psychologist Dr Chris Watkins photographed hundreds of Dundee residents who “donated” their faces to the project.

The eyes, ears, noses, lips, cheeks and chins of as many people as possible were used to develop the final image.

Features from people both born in Dundee and who live in the city make up the image, which took more than 40 hours to create by averaging the shape, colour and texture features of everyone who volunteered.

In the end, a single image emerged, but also pictures of the average man and average woman.

The final pictures were fabricated by averaging the shape, colour and texture of features of everyone who took part.


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The data was then used to calculate the average shape of the set of faces, and the features contained within them.

The project was part of Dundee Science Festival, and saw Dr Watkins and his students set up a temporary photo studio at the city’s Overgate Shopping Centre over two weekends, when they persuaded hundreds of shoppers to have their photos taken.

Dr Watkins said: “Our physical appearance is a product of both inheritance and the lives we lead. We can use these prototypes to explore whether we make any judgments about faces that belong to the given category.”

Of the final male image, he said: “I was expecting a man who looks as though he could take care of himself, and that’s what I got.

“If I was Dundonian, I’d be flattered – although the averaging process does usually lead to a better looking face.

“The more faces that go into the system, the less the final face actually changes.”


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