Spatial frequencies underlying upright and inverted face identification

Date

2008-07-03T17:05:54Z

Authors

Willenbockel, Verena

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Abstract

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.

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Keywords

spatial frequency, face recognition, inversion effect

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