A shape-based account for holistic face processing

Zhao, Mintao, Bülthoff, Heinrich H and Bülthoff, Isabelle (2016) A shape-based account for holistic face processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition, 42 (4). pp. 584-597. ISSN 0278-7393

[thumbnail of Accepted manuscript]
PDF (Accepted manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Faces are processed holistically, so selective attention to 1 face part without any influence of the others often fails. In this study, 3 experiments investigated what type of facial information (shape or surface) underlies holistic face processing and whether generalization of holistic processing to nonexperienced faces requires extensive discrimination experience. Results show that facial shape information alone is sufficient to elicit the composite face effect (CFE), 1 of the most convincing demonstrations of holistic processing, whereas facial surface information is unnecessary (Experiment 1). The CFE is eliminated when faces differ only in surface but not shape information, suggesting that variation of facial shape information is necessary to observe holistic face processing (Experiment 2). Removing 3-dimensional (3D) facial shape information also eliminates the CFE, indicating the necessity of 3D shape information for holistic face processing (Experiment 3). Moreover, participants show similar holistic processing for faces with and without extensive discrimination experience (i.e., own- and other-race faces), suggesting that generalization of holistic processing to nonexperienced faces requires facial shape information, but does not necessarily require further individuation experience. These results provide compelling evidence that facial shape information underlies holistic face processing. This shape-based account not only offers a consistent explanation for previous studies of holistic face processing, but also suggests a new ground-in addition to expertise-for the generalization of holistic processing to different types of faces and to nonface objects.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).
Uncontrolled Keywords: face perception,holistic processing,composite face effect,shape information,surface information
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Cognition, Action and Perception
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2017 05:06
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 00:55
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/64764
DOI: 10.1037/xlm0000185


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item