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Catherine Reed, Matthew Garber; Relative Independence of Face and Body Posture Processing. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):676. doi: 10.1167/11.11.676.
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Recent research has examined how different aspects of the face and body affect configural processing. Other research has demonstrated that the absence of a head can influence body perception. An open question remains as to the extent to which faces and bodies influence the visual perception of the other. In this study we determined whether face discrimination and the face inversion effect were affected by constant or varying body postures and whether posture discrimination and the body inversion effect were affected by constant or varying faces. Three experiments used a sequential same-different task in which participants compared either faces or bodies in upright or inverted orientations. Stimuli in all conditions were bodies in different postures with distinguishable faces. Across experiments and conditions, face and body variability was manipulated. The perception of body postures with a constant stock face was compared with body postures with systematically varying faces. Likewise, the perception of faces with a constant stock body posture was compared with systematically varying body postures. Results indicated that body posture discrimination was affected by variation in faces to a greater extent than face discrimination was affected by variation in body postures. Discrimination of both faces and body postures was greater for constant compared to varying conditions. However, variability did not appear to influence the magnitude of the inversion effects. The extent to which face and body processing are independent of one and other are considered in the context of current theories of configural processing.
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