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The role of the eye region for familiar face recognition: Evidence from spatial low-pass filtering and contrast negation.

Quinn, Bartholomew P.A. and Wiese, Holger (2022) 'The role of the eye region for familiar face recognition: Evidence from spatial low-pass filtering and contrast negation.', Quarterly journal of experimental psychology. .


What information is used for familiar face recognition? While previous research suggests a particular importance of the eye region, information from the rest of the face also needs to be integrated. What type of information is used in conjunction with the eyes is largely unclear. In three experiments, participants were asked to recognise so-called face chimeras, in which the eye region was not manipulated while the rest of the face was either presented in negative contrast (contrast chimeras) or low-pass filtered (blur chimeras). We show (i) that both chimeras are recognised substantially better than fully blurred faces, (ii) that the recognition advantage for blur chimeras is specific to the eye region but cannot be explained by cues available in this part of the face alone, and (iii) that a combination of negative contrast and blurring outside of the eye region eliminates the chimera advantage. We conclude that full-frequency but distorted surface reflectance cues (in contrast chimeras) or coarse shape information (in blur chimeras) can be used in combination with the eye region for effective face recognition. Our findings further suggest that the face recognition system can flexibly use both types of information, depending on availability.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This contribution has been accepted for publication in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Date accepted:08 February 2022
Date deposited:03 March 2022
Date of first online publication:23 February 2022
Date first made open access:03 March 2022

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