September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Holistic processing of faces in the absence of awareness
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shiwen Ren
    State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Hanyu Shao
    State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Sheng He
    State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 230b. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.230b
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      Shiwen Ren, Hanyu Shao, Sheng He; Holistic processing of faces in the absence of awareness. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):230b. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.230b.

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

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Abstract

It is widely acknowledged that holistic processing is a key characteristic of face perception, however, it is unclear whether such holistic processing requires awareness of face parts. To address this question, we investigated the interactions between a visible half face and an invisible half face. In the first experiment, we tested whether discrimination of face identity of the top half face could be influenced by the bottom half face which was rendered invisible through Continuous Flash Suppression (CFS). For a series of test faces generated from morphing between two distinct faces, results show that the invisible bottom half faces contributed to subjects’ face discrimination performance. This is essentially a demonstration of the “composite face effect” with invisible bottom half faces. In the second experiment, we tested whether a visible half face could influence the processing of the other half face presented under CFS suppression, as measured by the time it took to break from CFS suppression. We found that the visible half faces indeed facilitated the invisible half faces in breaking CFS suppression when the two halves were aligned compared to when they were misaligned. Visible eyes had stronger influence on invisible nose/mouth than the other way around. The two experiments together support that holistic processing of faces can occur between visible and invisible face parts.

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