The smile of the Mona Lisa may remain forever ineffable, but at least now science can measure the difference between the real thing and its many imitations.

A team of neuroscientists including Irving Biederman, the holder of the Harold Dornsife Chair in Neurosciences in USC College, say they can predict with near-perfect accuracy whether two faces resemble each other enough to fool a human observer.

The study used a face recognition computer model, previously developed by Christoph von der Malsburg of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the College, to try to understand how human brains recognize faces.

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