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Pamela Pallett, Ming Meng; Dissociations in emotion, gender, and object processing. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):504. doi: 10.1167/12.9.504.
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At present, the differences between emotion, gender and object processing are not entirely clear. For example, one difference between emotion and gender processing may be a proclivity for both analytical and holistic processing with emotion, since we can ask both "Is Pam more happy or sad?" and "Is Pam happy?". We do not ask "Is Pam more male or female?". Similarly, since cars are objects, we would expect car perception to rely on analytical processing (although people rarely judge whether a car looks more like a BMW or a Honda). Previous research suggests that quantitative judgments of faces rely primarily on analytical processing – a method of encoding that is generally reserved for objects – whereas same/different judgments rely on holistic processing (Pallett et al., 2011). Here we use this technique to explore differences in emotion, gender, and object processing (i.e. cars) with both upright and inverted stimuli. Using a staircase design, we isolated individual thresholds for differences in response to "more or less" and "which is different" judgments for these stimuli. We found a main effect of task type, with greater sensitivity for "more or less" discrimination than "which is different" discrimination. Remarkably, we also found a 3-way interaction between task type, stimulus category, and upright/inverted orientation. Observers exhibited reduced sensitivity during "more or less" discrimination of inverted emotive faces, but not gender or objects. In the "which is different" task, inversion impaired the discrimination in gender and emotion, but not objects. These results suggest a dissociation between emotion, gender, and object processing, i.e., both analytical and holistic processing with emotion, holistic processing with gender, and analytical processing with objects.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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