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Aida Owlia, Heather Jordan; Same- and cross-modal perceptual effects on gender and identity adaptation. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):469. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.8.469.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Accurate gender and identity judgments can be made from pictures (visual) and radio commentary (auditory). Visual gender adaptation effects (exposure to female faces causing a gender-neutral test face to appear male, and vice versa; Webster et al, 2004) have been widely reported and are considered to reflect neuron(s) that are selective for maleness/femaleness. Similar auditory effects have been observed when observers make judgments of the gender of morphed voices after exposure to male/female voices (Schweinberger et al, 2008). Crossmodal gender adaptation has not been reported for morphed test stimuli in the same perceptual domain. Is gender adaptation driven solely by domain-specific perceptual information? In this study, observers always judged visual information, but were adapted by visual, auditory or visual+auditory stimuli.
In the first series, observers discriminated the gender of a male/female morphed face, having been exposed to faces (visual), scrambled voices (auditory) or both simultaneously (visual+auditory). Consistent with Jordan & Fallah (VSS, 2008) observers were more likely to report gender-neutral stimuli as female after adaptation to male faces and vice versa. Adapting to male/female voices in the presence/absence of faces did not produce adaptation effects. This is consistent with same modality adapter-test adaptation effects and domain-specific processing of gender information.
Early stages of identification processing e.g. gender may rely on domain-specific input, while higher-level stages, e.g. identity, may utilise integrated perceptual information. To test this hypothesis, observers discriminated the morphed face of two well-known individuals. Observers were adapted to short video clips of one or other individual. When the observers were exposed to only the visual or auditory aspect of the videos clips, no adaptation was observed. Critically, when the adapting video contained both visual and auditory information, Identity Adaptation was observed.
The data will be discussed with reference to the integration of perceptual-modality information along the identity processing stream.
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