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Amanda Killian, Quoc Vuong, Jean Vettel, Jessie Peissig; The Recognition of Faces, Airplanes, and Novel Objects is Impaired by Contrast Reversal. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):642. doi: 10.1167/10.7.642.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Viewing faces in a negative contrast (i.e., a photograph negative) has been shown to produce a significant decrement in recognition performance (Bruce & Langton, 1994; Galper, 1970; Goldstein & Chance, 1981). This finding has been suggested to support the existence of a face-specific module in the brain. Alternatively, the pigmentation, lighting, and shading patterns present in faces, and other object categories, may contribute to this phenomenon (Bruce & Langton, 1994). If this latter explanation is true, we should expect to see contrast reversal effects in categories other than faces, even categories that are novel to the participant. In this experiment, we compared the recognition of faces and other categories of objects, including a novel, nonbiological category (“pengs”), across contrast. Our previous test using a novel category of objects used objects that were perceived as biological (e.g., Greebles; Vuong et al., 2005). Consequently, the current experiment tests the robustness of the contrast effect. This is particularly important, because recent data has been reported showing no contrast effect for a set of novel objects (blobs; Nederhauser, et. al, 2007).
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