August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Face adaptation with and without attention
Author Affiliations
  • Janice Murray
    Department of Psychology, University of Otago
  • Madeline Judge
    Department of Psychology, University of Otago
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 522. doi:
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      Janice Murray, Madeline Judge; Face adaptation with and without attention. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):522.

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

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After adaptation to faces with contracted (or expanded) internal features, faces previously perceived as normal appear distorted in the opposite direction. These face aftereffects suggest that face-coding mechanisms adapt rapidly to changes in the spatial relations of face features and/or the global structure of the face. What role does selective attention play in the face aftereffect? Past attempts to answer this question have yielded conflicting results (Moradi, Koch & Shimojo, 2005; Murray & Yan, 2006). We report work in which adaptation to ignored faces was tested under conditions of high attentional load and where attention to the non-face task was optimal. Before and after an adaptation phase, participants rated the normality of morphed distorted faces ranging from 50% contracted through normal to 50% expanded. In the adaptation phase, participants were presented with a highly demanding rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of red or blue Xs and Ts flanked to the left or right by a face with 50% contracted features. The ten individual letters in the RSVP stream were each presented for 160 ms and separated by a 20 ms inter-letter interval. Forty participants either attended to the adaptation faces (attend condition), or ignored them and counted the number of red Ts in the RSVP stream (ignore condition). A monetary incentive was provided to encourage full attention to the letter-count task in the ignore condition. A reduced but significant face aftereffect was observed when adaptation faces were ignored. These results suggest that face adaptation, as a possible mechanism for rapid updating of what looks normal, occurs automatically even under conditions in which general capacity demands are very high.

Murray, J. Judge, M. (2009). Face adaptation with and without attention [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):522, 522a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.522. [CrossRef]

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