September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Why does aperture viewing disrupt face perception?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jennifer J Murphy
    Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, U.K.
  • Katie L. H Gray
    School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, U.K.
  • Richard Cook
    Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, U.K.
    Department of Psychology, University of York, York, U.K.
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 230. doi:
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      Jennifer J Murphy, Katie L. H Gray, Richard Cook; Why does aperture viewing disrupt face perception?. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):230. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Perceptual decisions are more accurate when observers view faces in their entirety than when dynamic viewing windows reveal target faces incrementally. These findings accord with holistic theories of face processing that assert that the opportunity to process multiple regions in parallel conveys a particular advantage when viewing upright faces. However, aperture viewing could also make it harder for observers to extract the vertical image structure (the ‘facial barcode’) thought to play a critical role when interpreting faces. The present study sought to distinguish these possibilities. In Experiment 1, observers judged the gender of faces briefly viewed in their entirety, or through a dynamic aperture that moved across the image vertically, from top to bottom, or vice-versa. In Experiment 2 the aperture moved horizontally, from left to right, or vice-versa. We found evidence of a whole-face advantage irrespective of whether the aperture hindered (Experiment 1) or allowed the extraction of the barcode (Experiment 2). In both experiments, the opportunity to process faces in their entirety aided the perception of upright faces, disproportionately. Our findings suggest that the perceptual advantage conveyed by whole-face processing extends beyond the extraction of the vertical image structure.

Acknowledgement: ESRC 

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