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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: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.230.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
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.
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