Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

How Holistic Is Face Perception?

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

How Holistic Is Face Perception?

Article excerpt

FACE PERCEPTION

Amishav & Kimchi (2010). Perceptual integrality of componential and configural information in face processing. PB&R, 17, 743.

Holistic processing is probably the most frequently cited hallmark of face perception. Another of its commonly invoked characteristics, however, is configural processing, which some have even suggested dominates face perception. Yet it has been shown that the contribution of componential information cannot be ignored. Amishav and Kimchi devised an elegant way to test whether configural information indeed overshadows componential information in face perception. They applied Garner's (1974; The processing of information and structure. Potomac, MD: Erlbaum) speeded-classification paradigm to the study of face perception, which is a classical method to investigate processing dependencies between dimensions. It tests whether it is possible to selectively attend to one dimension (e.g., componential information) of a stimulus (e.g., a face) while ignoring irrelevant variations along another dimension (e.g., configural information). The first experiment of Amishav and Kimchi's study examined whether componential information and configural information are independent dimensions and whether the latter dominates the former. The participants had to classify faces on the basis of one dimension, either such facial components as the shape of the eyes or such configural information as the distance between the eyes, while ignoring the other dimension. In the control condition, the irrelevant dimension was held constant, and in the filtering condition, both the relevant and the irrelevant dimensions varied orthogonally. …

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