A Shape-Based Account for Holistic Face Processing

Mintao Zhao, Heinrich Bulthoff, Isabelle Bülthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Faces are processed holistically, so selective attention to 1 face part without any influence of the others often fails. In this study, 3 experiments investigated what type of facial information (shape or surface) underlies holistic face processing and whether generalization of holistic processing to nonexperienced faces requires extensive discrimination experience. Results show that facial shape information alone is sufficient to elicit the composite face effect (CFE), 1 of the most convincing demonstrations of holistic processing, whereas facial surface information is unnecessary (Experiment 1). The CFE is eliminated when faces differ only in surface but not shape information, suggesting that variation of facial shape information is necessary to observe holistic face processing (Experiment 2). Removing 3-dimensional (3D) facial shape information also eliminates the CFE, indicating the necessity of 3D shape information for holistic face processing (Experiment 3). Moreover, participants show similar holistic processing for faces with and without extensive discrimination experience (i.e., own- and other-race faces), suggesting that generalization of holistic processing to nonexperienced faces requires facial shape information, but does not necessarily require further individuation experience. These results provide compelling evidence that facial shape information underlies holistic face processing. This shape-based account not only offers a consistent explanation for previous studies of holistic face processing, but also suggests a new ground-in addition to expertise-for the generalization of holistic processing to different types of faces and to nonface objects. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015 Sep 14

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experiment
discrimination
Face Processing
experience
personality development
Individuation
Professional Competence
expertise
Holistic Processing
Experiment
evidence
Discrimination
Expertise
Selective Attention

Keywords

  • Composite face effect
  • Face perception
  • Holistic processing
  • Shape information
  • Surface information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

A Shape-Based Account for Holistic Face Processing. / Zhao, Mintao; Bulthoff, Heinrich; Bülthoff, Isabelle.

In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, 14.09.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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