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Amy L. Boggan, Joseph P. Dunlop, Daniel C. Krawczyk, James C. Bartlett; Behavioral and Neural Markers of Perceptual Expertise with Faces and Chess. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):977. doi: 10.1167/12.9.977.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Object recognition depends both on the recognition of parts of an object (featural processing) and how those parts interact (configural or holistic processing). Face recognition appears to disproportionately rely on holistic processing, as revealed by behavioral hallmarks such as the increased performance cost of face inversion relative to other objects. While evidence suggests a genetic role in face recognition, the effects of experience must be understood in order to devise training methods for those impaired in face recognition. Here, we summarize our present research in this area by presenting behavioral and neuroimaging results with experts with another visual stimulus, chess. Chess position recognition bears some similarities with face recognition, in that both parts (individual pieces) and relationships among pieces must be recognized to evaluate a position. However, unlike face recognition, chess expertise does not appear to be genetic. We tested chess experts, recreational players and novices behaviorally with interleaved face and chess composites to see whether chess experts demonstrate hallmarks of face processing with chess stimuli. All participants demonstrated one hallmark of holistic face processing, congruency, with face composites, but only chess experts demonstrated a congruency effect with chess composites. Chess experts also processed faces differently—less holistically—than novices, suggesting interference from the chess stimuli, and this pattern was associated with an early starting age with chess. Given that the behavioral results with chess experts suggested that expert chess processing and face processing may share a common process, we used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to identify the neuro-correlates of meaningful chess stimuli among experts and novices in a recognition task. Results suggest that recognition for faces and chess have separate neural correlates; the Fusiform Face Area was not associated with expert processing of normal versus randomized games. Other areas, such as the precuneus, were associated with well-formed games.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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