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Thomas A. Busey, John R. Vanderkolk; Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence for configural processing in fingerprint experts. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):635. doi: 10.1167/5.8.635.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual expertise in fingerprint examiners was addressed in one behavioral and one electrophysiological experiment. In an X-AB matching task with fingerprint fragments, experts demonstrated better overall performance, immunity to longer delays, and evidence of configural processing when fragments were presented in noise. Novices were affected by longer delays and showed no evidence of configural processing. In Experiment 2, upright and inverted faces and fingerprints were shown to experts and novices. The N170 EEG component was reliably delayed over the right parietal/temporal regions when faces were inverted, replicating an effect that in the literature has been interpreted as a signature of configural processing. The inverted fingerprints showed a similar delay of the N170 over the right parietal/temporal region, but only in experts, providing converging evidence for configural processing when experts view fingerprints. Together the results of both experiments point to the role configural processing in the development of visual expertise, possibly supported by idiosyncratic relational information among fingerprint features.
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