August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Perceptual challenges for inverted icons: The Face Inversion Effect does not extend to complex objects
Author Affiliations
  • Carrie Melia
    Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University
  • Michael Hout
    Department of Psychology, New Mexico State University
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 78. doi:10.1167/16.12.78
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      Carrie Melia, Michael Hout; Perceptual challenges for inverted icons: The Face Inversion Effect does not extend to complex objects. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):78. doi: 10.1167/16.12.78.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

The face inversion effect (FIE) is the phenomenon whereby inverted faces are harder to recognize than are upright instances of the same face (Yin, 1969). We sought to determine if two aspects of faces that may be shared by other objects can contribute to the FIE. First, faces are perceptually complex; other complex items might therefore elicit inversion effects. Second, faces are seldom encountered upside-down, limiting the extent to which top-down processing can be used when they are encountered in an inverted fashion. We investigated if the degree of visual complexity and plausible inversion of objects could produce (and explain) analogous results to those obtained with faces. In a pilot experiment, we showed naïve participants object categories, and asked them to rate items on 1) visually complexity, and 2) likelihood of being encountered upside-down. We then identified six categories varying in visual complexity (simple, complex) and plausible inversion (rarely, occasionally, and often found upside-down). For instance, remote controls were rated as visually complex, and likely to be found upside-down. Male and female faces were also included. Participants (N=44) first saw a cue, followed by a pair of category-matched exemplars, quickly indicating which picture matched the cue. Cues were upright or inverted, and the pair of pictures either matched or mismatched the orientation of the cue. Difference scores were calculated by subtracting the RT for trials with upright cues from those for inverted cues. Thus, positive values indicated costs for inversion. For object stimuli, there was no main effect of match condition, visual complexity, or plausible inversion, and there were no significant interactions. However, face data showed a clear FIE, replicating prior work. It appears that the FIE is unique to faces, and does not extend to visually complex, orientation stable categories.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016

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