Hancock P J B, Foster C, 2012, "The ‘double face’ illusion" Perception 41(1) 57 – 70
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The ‘double face’ illusion
Peter J B Hancock, Catherine Foster
Received 2 May 2010, in revised form 10 January 2012
Abstract. We report three experiments intended to characterise aspects of the ‘double face’ illusion, formed by replicating the eyes and mouth below the originals. Such doubled faces are disturbing to look at. We find there are wide individual differences in the ability to detect that a face has been doubled when presented briefly and masked. These differences appear to relate to perceptual speed, since they correlate with the ability to identify a briefly presented famous face. Doubling has a significant effect on identification, though much less than inversion. In a reaction-time study, participants are faster to decide that a face has been doubled as it is rotated away from upright. The final study shows that normal and doubled faces do not pop out from each other, but reveals a processing overhead of 40 – 60 ms per doubled face. We offer some speculations as to the cause of the perceptual effects.
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