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Avniel Ghuman, Jonathan McDaniel, Alex Martin; Cross-category adaptation of faces. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):454. doi: 10.1167/9.8.454.
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Adaptation is a critical attribute of perceptual systems, allowing them to alter their response with changing demands. Recent results demonstrate that adaptation is not only occurs for low-level stimulus properties, but can also occur for high-level properties of a face, such as gender and identity. These face-adaptation effects suggest that the brain contains neurons tuned to specific features critical for determining these properties. However, it is unknown whether these networks are face-specific or the result of adapting neurons more broadly tuned to gender or identify.
To address this question, pictures of either male or female bodies from the neck down (i.e., without a visible face) and pictures of males and females photographed from behind were presented, followed by a target face (Experiment 1a and 1b). Face perception was biased away from the gender of the adapting bodies (a gender face adaptation aftereffect was found with faceless bodies used as the adapting stimuli; p .2). Taken together, these results demonstrate that face adaptation can be elicited by information conveyed by human bodies, but not by any gender-related information. More generally, these results suggest that adaptation can cross categorical boundaries for intrinsically-related objects.
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