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Keith A. May, Li Zhaoping; Face perception inherits low-level binocular adaptation. Journal of Vision 2019;19(7):7. doi: 10.1167/19.7.7.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In previous work (May & Zhaoping, 2016; May, Zhaoping, & Hibbard, 2012), we have provided evidence that the visual system efficiently encodes binocular information using separately adaptable binocular summation and differencing channels. In that work, binocular test stimuli delivered different grating patterns to the two binocular channels; selective adaptation of one of the binocular channels made participants more likely to see the other channel's grating pattern. In the current study, we extend this paradigm to face perception. Our test stimuli delivered different face images to the two binocular channels, and we found that selective adaptation of one binocular channel biased the observer to perceive the other channel's face image. We show that the perceived identity, gender, emotional expression, or direction of 3-D rotation of a facial test image can be influenced by pre-exposure to binocular random-noise patterns that contain no meaningful spatial structure. Our results provide compelling evidence that face-processing mechanisms can inherit adaptation from low-level sites. Our adaptation paradigm targets the low-level mechanisms in such a way that any response bias or inadvertent adaptation of high-level mechanisms selective for face categories would reduce, rather than produce, the measured effects of adaptation.
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