Does the Face Say it All? Examining Integration in Whole-Person Perception

Date

2023-03-19

Authors

Forner, Katelyn

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Abstract

People around us are perceived as visually integrated “persons”; however, research has focused on face and body recognition in isolation. We examine the integration of faces and bodies in three experiments, characterizing the influence of body information on face perception and the influence of face information on body perception. Participants made “same-different” decisions about two sequentially presented face-body composite images categorized as either congruent (e.g., faces and bodies were identical) or incongruent (e.g., different faces or different bodies). Holistic processing was probed by presenting face and body components as either spatially aligned or misaligned. In Experiment 1 (n=37), congruency influenced responses in both aligned and misaligned conditions, indicating there was integration of the face-body components, but it was not holistic. In Experiment 2 (n=35), body-only judgements were more accurate for aligned conditions. In Experiment 3 (n=40), participants were presented face-body composite images that were categorized as different forms of manipulation (upright-head, inverted-head, and no-head), and responses were most accurate in the upright-head condition. Our results indicate that whole-person perception has distinct face-body components. Critically, there is an asymmetry where the face more strongly influences body judgements, and even the mere presence of face information will impact body perception.

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Keywords

holistic processing, face-body integration, body perception, face perception, whole-person perception, Perception

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