Barton J J S, Deepak S, Malik N, 2003, "Attending to faces: change detection, familiarization, and inversion effects" Perception 32(1) 15 – 28
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Attending to faces: change detection, familiarization, and inversion effects
Jason J S Barton, Shaunak Deepak, Numaan Malik
Received 3 December 2001, in revised form 12 May 2002; published online 5 December 2002
Abstract. We tested detection of changes to eye position, eye color (brightness), mouth position, and mouth color in frontal views of faces. Two faces were presented sequentially for 555 ms each, with a blank screen of 120 ms separating the two. Faces were presented either both upright or both inverted. Measures of detection (d´) were calculated for several different degrees of change for each of the four dimensions of change. We first compared results to an earlier experiment that used an oddity design, in which subjects indicated which of three simultaneously viewed and otherwise identical faces had been altered on one of these four dimensions. Subjects in both of these experiments were partially cued, in that they knew the four possible types of changes that could occur on a given trial. The change-detection results correlated well with the oddity data. They confirmed that face inversion had little effect upon detection of changes in eye color, a moderate effect upon detection of eye-position or mouth-color changes, and caused a drastic reduction in the detection of mouth-position changes. An experiment in which uncued and fully cued subjects were compared showed that cueing significantly improved detection of feature color changes, but there was little difference between upright and inverted faces. Full cueing eliminated all effects of inversion. Compared to partial cueing, changes in mouth color were poorly detected by uncued subjects. Last, a change in the frequency of the base (unaltered) face in an experiment from 75% to 40% showed that increased short-term familiarity decreased the detection of eye changes and increased the detection of mouth changes, regardless of face orientation and the type of change made (color or position). We conclude that uncued subjects encode the spatial relations of features more than the colors of features, that mouth color in particular is not considered a relevant dimension for encoding, and that familiarization redistributes attention from more to less salient facial regions. Inversion effects are not simply an exaggeration of the salience effects revealed by withdrawing cueing, but represent an interaction of spatial encoding with salience, in that the greatest inversion effects occur for spatial shifts in less salient facial regions, and can be eliminated through the use of focused attention.
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