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Giulia Dormal, Renaud Laguesse, Aurélie Biervoye, Dana Kuefner, Bruno Rossion; Reduction of the face inversion effect in adulthood following training with inverted faces. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):980. doi: 10.1167/13.9.980.
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Inversion of the stimulus in the picture plane has long been known to dramatically impair face recognition abilities (Hochberg & Galper, 1967 ; Yin, 1969 ; Valentine, 1988). This lower performance for recognizing inverted relative to upright faces constitutes one of the most well known and robust behavioral effects documented in the field of face processing (Rossion, 2008). Here we investigated whether extensive training in adulthood at individualizing a large set of inverted faces could modulate the inversion effect for novel faces. Eight adult observers were trained for 2 weeks (for a total of 16 hours) at individualizing a set of 30 inverted face identities presented under different depth-rotated views. Following training, all participants showed a significant reduction of their inversion effect for novel face identities as compared to the magnitude of the effect measured before training, and to the magnitude of the face inversion effect of a group of untrained participants. These observations indicate for the first time that extensive training in adulthood can lead to a significant reduction of the face inversion effect, suggesting a larger degree of flexibility of the adult face processing system than previously thought. Participants of the study are currently being retested with novel upright and inverted faces about a year following their initial training. We expect to observe a similar inversion effect for novel faces as the one observed before initial training, indicating that the effects of training with inverted faces are relatively short-term.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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