Spatial frequencies underlying upright and inverted face identification




Willenbockel, Verena

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The face inversion effect (FIE; Yin, 1969) raises the question of whether upright face identification is mediated by a special mechanism that is disrupted by inversion. The present study investigates the effect of face inversion on the perceptual encoding of spatial frequency (SF) information using a novel variant of the Bubbles technique (Gosselin & Schyns, 2001). In Experiment 1, the SF Bubbles technique was validated using a simple plaid detection task. In Experiment 2, SF tuning of upright and inverted face identification was measured. While the data showed a clear FIE (28% higher accuracy and 455 ms shorter reaction times for upright faces), SF tunings were remarkably similar in both conditions (r = .96; a single SF band of ~2 octaves peaking at ~9 cycles per face width). Experiments 3 and 4 demonstrated that SF Bubbles is sensitive to bottom-up and top-down induced changes in SF tuning, respectively. Overall, the results show that the same SFs are utilized in upright and inverted face identification, albeit not with equal efficiency.



spatial frequency, face recognition, inversion effect