de Heering A, Wallis J, Maurer D, 2012, "The composite-face effect survives asymmetric face distortions" Perception 41(6) 707 – 716
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The composite-face effect survives asymmetric face distortions
Adélaïde de Heering, Jessica Wallis, Daphne Maurer
Abstract. In two experiments, we investigated whether adults use holistic processing even for faces that are grossly distorted because their eyes have been moved asymmetrically to violate the common layout of a face (distorting its first-order relations). To this end we used a compelling demonstration that faces are processed as wholes, the composite-face effect. Specifically, adults judged the similarity of sequentially presented top halves of normal (original condition) and distorted faces with one eye (one-eye condition) or two eyes (two-eyes condition) shifted up by an abnormal amount. Trials were either blocked by type of distortion (experiment 1) or intermixed within the experiment (experiment 2). In both experiments, participants demonstrated a composite-face effect of the same magnitude in the three conditions, a pattern suggesting that they processed holistically even faces whose first-order relations were violated.
Keywords: faces, composite-face effect, holistic processing, distorted features
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