Detecting symmetry and faces: separating the tasks and identifying their interactions.

TitleDetecting symmetry and faces: separating the tasks and identifying their interactions.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsJones, Rebecca M., Victor Jonathan D., and Conte Mary M.
JournalAtten Percept Psychophys
Date Published2012 Jul
KeywordsAttention, Discrimination (Psychology), Face, Female, Field Dependence-Independence, Humans, Male, Orientation, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Reaction Time, Students

Face and symmetry processing have common characteristics, and several lines of evidence suggest they interact. To characterize their relationship and possible interactions, in the present study we created a novel library of images in which symmetry and face-likeness were manipulated independently. Participants identified the target that was most symmetric among distractors of equal face-likeness (Experiment 1) and identified the target that was most face-like among distractors of equal symmetry (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, we found that symmetry judgments improved when the stimuli were more face-like. In Experiment 2, we found a more complex interaction: Image symmetry had no effect on detecting frontally viewed faces, but worsened performance for nonfrontally viewed faces. There was no difference in performance for upright versus inverted images, suggesting that these interactions occurred on the parts-based level. In sum, when symmetry and face-likeness are independently manipulated, we find that each influences the perception of the other, but the nature of the interactions differs.

Alternate JournalAtten Percept Psychophys
PubMed ID22419373
PubMed Central IDPMC3392169
Grant ListR01 EY007977 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States

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