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Researchers Combine 13 Actors To Find The Average Look Of Doctor Who’s Leading Man


We’ve seen it before with a redditor photoshopping Batman and Superman actors to see what kind of superhero that would create, but this time a team of psychologists took it upon themselves to study the many faces of the Doctor. Just in time for his next regeneration! 

The Doctor has had many faces, and while we may be partial to one or another, psychologists at Aberdeen University’s Face Lab decided to show us his “real face.”

“Cutting-edge ‘face averaging’ technology, developed at the institution as part of research into face recognition, was employed to create the average face of Doctor Who,” they wrote in their official release. “Images of the 13 actors who have filled the time- travelling hero’s shoes – from the inaugural Doctor, William Hartnell, to Peter Capaldi who will step into the role in the highly-anticipated Christmas episode – were used to develop the image.”

How does this all work? “The software we used allows us to identify specific landmarks on each of the images of The Doctor, such as the eyes, nose and mouth – what we call the ‘shape’ component,” said Dr. Robin Kramer. “We then use these landmarks to average all of the images together, also taking into account their colour and texture.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your Doctor…

Oddly enough, I can’t see modern Doctors Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, or Matt Smith in this face at all, though I do see a few classic Doctors.

“It’s interesting that the face we have developed is not dominated by the features of any one of the actors to have played The Doctor,” said Face Lab’s David Robertson. “Rather it represents a combination of the averaged features of each actor to have taken on the role. Indeed, this face average could guide future casting directors in their search for the ideal actor to play the Time Lord!”

This is fun for Whovians to look at but I can imagine the meeting where one researcher/fan tried to convince the rest this was worthy of their time. Though Kramer did explain the applications of their work.

“Evidence has shown that face-averaging could be a powerful tool. Previous studies indicate that when you make an average image of a face – essentially creating a prototype with the irrelevant information removed – this significantly enhances the ability of a computer to correctly identify a face. This work has clear implications for the security sector in terms of the development of facial recognition technology.”

What do you think of the “real Doctor?” Would you grab his hand and run?

(via BBC News, image via Aberdeen.stv.tv)

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  • http://www.theliteraryomnivore.wordpress.com/ The Literary Omnivore
  • Jose Saucedo

    Holly? http://i.imgur.com/wLPUOSg.jpg must be the cropping.

  • Louis Gonzales

    Elderly Mike Nelson?

  • Lindsay Beaton

    Willy Wonka is a Time Lord?

  • Benjamin Meis

    IDK, I definitely see Tennant in this.

  • Colette of Cthulhu

    I mostly see Colin Baker, but I do agree with the Mike Nelson comments.

  • Craig Oxbrow
  • Philip Lopez

    I can’t see Tennant if I’m looking directly at it, but if I glance away I can see it.

  • Important Film Maker

    The ideal doctor is a white insurance salesman.

  • Lady Commentariat

    Naw, he sells sonic vacuum cleaners. Or encyclopedias. Or maybe sonic vacuum cleaners with an on-board encyclopedia.

  • Anonymous

    That was my thought too, I didn’t see anyone else’s features recognizable, but his really stand out for me for some reason.

  • Suzanne Larsen

    *laugh* don’t hold back now, tell us how you really feel about Six.

  • Caitlyn Drinkwater

    How do you know that he’s straight?

  • Important Film Maker

    Bad hair.

  • Important Film Maker

    Are you glancing away… to a picture of Tennant?

  • Anonymous

    Now go factor Peter Cushing, Richard Hurndall, Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, & Joanna Lumley in.

  • Vian Lawson

    Proof positive that the Doctor is more than the sum of his parts, I’d say.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nuuni.nuunani Nuuni Nuunani

    After your busy displaying your orientation, your hairs generally a mess regardless of your interests.

  • Anonymous

    So, when you average 13 actors together, you get a guy who is on the good-looking side of average. Who knew?

  • Mora

    The image only makes me think, “Moisturize me….”

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    I just read the title and went, “Oh, so a white guy.” That’s nothing against the actors, but it’s kind of another reminder that we really need better representation already, not just in DW but in general.

  • Zefram Mann

    The only thing that jumps out at me about that face is not only how average it is, but how incredibly “English” it looks.
    Science has created the perfect Arthur Dent.