Perception of Faces, Objects, and Scenes: Analytic and Holistic Processes

Perception of Faces, Objects, and Scenes: Analytic and Holistic Processes

Perception of Faces, Objects, and Scenes: Analytic and Holistic Processes

Perception of Faces, Objects, and Scenes: Analytic and Holistic Processes

Excerpt

We readily recognize the faces of our friends and the objects around us. We do so effortlessly, but these cannot be simple tasks for our visual systems. Faces are all extremely similar as visual patterns. We see objects from different viewpoints and in different arrangements. How does the visual system solve these problems? The contributors to this volume attempt to answer this question by considering how analytic and holistic processes contribute to the perception of faces, objects, and scenes. The role of parts and wholes in perception has been studied for a century, beginning with the debate between structuralists who championed the role of elements and Gestalt psychologists who emphasized the role of wholes. In this volume we bring together 21st-century views. The contributors to this volume ask whether analytic and holistic processes contribute differently to the perception of faces and objects. They also consider whether different mechanisms code holistic and analytic information or whether a single universal system can suffice. The contributors to this collection offer some intriguing answers to these questions.

The reader will quickly discover that there is no single definition of the terms “analytic” and “holistic.” Some, but not all, authors use terms such as “global,” “configural,” and “coarse” as synonyms for “holistic.” Similarly, some, but not all authors, use terms such as “piecemeal,” “local,” “part-based,” “componential,” “fine-grained,” and “analytic” inter-

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