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Allison Yamanashi Leib, Elise Piazza, Shlomo Bentin, Lynn Robertson; Perception and Visual Working Memory Emphasize Different Aspects of Face Processing. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):677. doi: 10.1167/10.7.677.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
This experiment investigates both perceptual encoding of configural information and the maintenance of second order configural information in working memory. We collected data from 32 participants. In the perceptual condition, participants viewed two sequentially presented faces with essentially 0 ISI. The faces were configurally manipulated in either the eyes region, the mouth region, or the contour region. The stimulus set contained 48 faces with 6 degrees of difficulty. Difficulty was increased along a continuum with a 1-pixel change comprising the hardest condition and a 6-pixel change comprising the easiest condition. In the perceptual task, participants were asked to judge whether the two faces were the same or different. Importantly, participants' attention was directed to the specific face region (eyes, mouth, or contour) that was relevant in each condition. Our findings show that participants perform comparably in the various face regions, suggesting that configural perceptual encoding between face regions is equivalent in perception. In the working memory condition, participants again viewed two sequentially presented faces, and their attention was directed in the same manner as before. In contrast to the perceptual experiment, the first face was viewed for varying exposure durations (500 ms, 1500 ms). Additionally, the ISI was varied, although the SOA remained the same throughout conditions. Results showed that performance in the eye region was significantly better than performance in the mouth or contour conditions. These findings suggest that configural eye information is given more importance in working memory than configural mouth or contour information, but that these differences are not accounted for by perceptual processing. This study provides new insight into normal processes of human face perception and memory.
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