The Chernoff Face

I learned about the Chernoff Face from the post My Data Have Feelings by Siddharth Shah of Efficient Frontier at a post on Search Engine Land.

About the Chernoff Face from Wikipedia:

Chernoff faces display multivariate data in the shape of a human face. The individual parts, such as eyes, ears, mouth and nose represent values of the variables by their shape, size, placement and orientation. The idea behind using faces is that humans easily recognize faces and notice small changes without difficulty. Chernoff faces handle each variable differently. Because the features of the faces vary in perceived importance, the way in which variables are mapped to the features should be carefully chosen (eye size and eyebrow-slant have been found important)

This example shows Chernoff faces for lawyers’ ratings of twelve judges.

Chernoff Faces

Chernoff Faces

While I hadn’t heard of Chernoff Faces prior to reading Shah’s Search Engine Land piece, I have spent a great amount of time developing and testing visual models for categorization of audience personas.

Whether or not a Chernoff Face model will work in my research, I don’t yet know.

Thinking about what if any implications the Chernoff Face might have on my research.


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