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Claudia Schulz, Jürgen M. Kaufmann, Lydia Walther, Stefan R. Schweinberger; Effects of spatial caricaturing and anti-caricaturing on face learning. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):976. doi: 10.1167/12.9.976.
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Distinctiveness as a crucial parameter in face learning can be experimentally manipulated by spatial caricaturing. Building on recent findings of a learning advantage for spatially caricatured faces (Kaufmann & Schweinberger, 2008, in press), we investigated effects of spatial caricaturing as well as anti-caricaturing on face learning. We assessed performance and event-related potential (ERP) correlates of learning and recognition for 120 unfamiliar faces that were either presented as veridicals, caricatures, or anti-caricatures, using different images at learning and test, plus an equal number of novel faces from each of the three conditions. (Anti-) caricatures were manipulations of individual shape information, which was either exaggerated or reduced at 70% relative to a gender-matched averaged face, while preserving texture and color information. In a following two-alternative-forced-choice face familiarity-task, recognition accuracies were highest for caricatures, while response times were longest for anti-caricatures. At learning, caricatures elicited more negative occipitotemporal P200 and N250 than veridicals and anti-caricatures, which differed from one another at right hemispheric sites only. Right-hemispheric N170 and overall late positive component (LPC) were also larger for caricatures compared to veridicals and anti-caricatures. At test, P200, right-hemispheric N250 for learned faces, and LPC showed opposite amplitude effects for caricatures and anti-caricatures, with intermediate amplitudes for veridical faces. Altogether, the effects corroborate an interpretation of spatial caricaturing effects in terms of increased distinctiveness of facial shape. Spatial caricaturing affected face learning and recognition from early time windows onwards, with some evidence of higher sensitivity of the right hemisphere for facial shape. Effects were not only caused by spatial manipulations per se, but were in line with the direction of the distinctiveness manipulation.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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