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    Normal composite face effects in developmental prosopagnosia

    Biotti, Federica and Wu, E. and Yang, H. and Jiahui, G. and Duchaine, B. and Cook, Richard (2017) Normal composite face effects in developmental prosopagnosia. Cortex 95 , pp. 63-76. ISSN 0010-9452.

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    Upright face perception is thought to involve holistic processing, whereby local features are integrated into a unified whole. Consistent with this view, the top half of one face appears to fuse perceptually with the bottom half of another, when aligned spatially and presented upright. This ‘composite face effect’ reveals a tendency to integrate information from disparate regions when faces are presented canonically. In recent years, the relationship between susceptibility to the composite effect and face recognition ability has received extensive attention both in participants with normal face recognition and participants with developmental prosopagnosia. Previous results suggest that individuals with developmental prosopagnosia may show reduced susceptibility to the effect suggestive of diminished holistic face processing. Here we describe two studies that examine whether developmental prosopagnosia is associated with reduced composite face effects. Despite using independent samples of developmental prosopagnosics and different composite procedures, we find no evidence for reduced composite face effects. The experiments yielded similar results; highly significant composite effects in both prosopagnosic groups that were similar in magnitude to the effects found in participants with normal face processing. The composite face effects exhibited by both samples and the controls were greatly diminished when stimulus arrangements were inverted. Our finding that the whole-face binding process indexed by the composite effect is intact in developmental prosopagnosia indicates that other factors are responsible for developmental prosopagnosia. These results are also inconsistent with suggestions that susceptibility to the composite face effect and face recognition ability are tightly linked. While the holistic process revealed by the composite face effect may be necessary for typical face perception, it is not sufficient; individual differences in face recognition ability likely reflect variability in multiple sequential processes.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Developmental prosopagnosia, Composite face effect, Holistic face processing
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Richard Cook
    Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2018 14:58
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:39


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