2008 volume 37(8) pages 1175 – 1186

Cite as:
Mondloch C J, Maurer D, 2008, "The effect of face orientation on holistic processing" Perception 37(8) 1175 – 1186

Download citation data in RIS format

The effect of face orientation on holistic processing

Catherine J Mondloch, Daphne Maurer

Received 26 July 2007, in revised form 28 January 2008; published online 4 August 2008

Abstract. Holistic processing, a hallmark of face processing, can be measured by the composite face effect: adults have difficulty recognising the top half of a face when it is aligned with a new bottom half, unless holistic processing is disrupted by misaligning the two halves. Like the recognition of facial identity, holistic processing is impaired when faces are inverted. To obtain a more refined measure of the influence of orientation on holistic face processing, we administered the composite face task to adults at each of seven orientations. In both experiment 1 (in which orientations were randomly intermixed) and experiment 2 (in which orientations were blocked), the composite face effect decreased linearly with rotation. We conclude that holistic processing is tuned to upright faces, diminishes as faces deviate from upright, and becomes insignificant once faces reach a sideways orientation. We propose a hierarchical model of face perception in which linear decreases in holistic processing underlie qualitative shifts in other aspects of face perception.

PDF Full-text PDF size: 214 Kb

HTML References  50 references, 41 with DOI links (Crossref)