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Jessica Royer, Caroline Blais, Karine Déry, Daniel Fiset; For best results, use the eyes: Individual differences and diagnostic features in face recognition. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):77. doi: 10.1167/16.12.77.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In recent years, the interest in individual differences in face processing ability has skyrocketed. In fact, individual differences are quite useful in better understanding the mechanisms involved in face processing, since it is thought that if a certain mechanism is important for this task, individual efficiency in using this mechanism should be correlated with face processing abilities (Yovel et al., 2014). The present study investigated how variations in the ability to perceive and recognize faces in healthy observers related to their utilization of facial features in different spatial frequency bands. Fifty participants completed a 10 choice face identification task using the Bubbles method (Gosselin & Schyns, 2001) as well as six tasks measuring face and object recognition or perception ability. The individual classification images (CIs) obtained in the bubbles task were weighted using the z-scored performance rankings in each face processing test. Our results first show that the utilization of the eye region is correlated with performance in all three face processing tasks, (p< .025; Zcriterion=3.580), specifically in intermediate to high spatial frequencies. We also show that individual differences in face-specific processing abilities (i.e. when controlling for general visual/cognitive processing ability; Royer et al., 2015) are significantly correlated with the use of the eye area, especially the left eye (p< .025; Zcriterion=3.580). Face-specific processing abilities were also significantly linked to the similarity between the individual and unweighted group CIs, meaning that those who performed best in the face recognition tests used a more consistent visual strategy. Our findings are congruent with data revealing an impaired processing of the eye region in a prosopagnosic patient (e.g. Caldara et al., 2005), indicating that the visual strategies associated with this condition are also observed in individuals at the low-end of the normal continuum of face processing ability.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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