Processing of low spatial frequency faces at periphery in choice reaching tasks

Bhuvanesh Awasthi*, Jason Friedman, Mark A. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various aspects of face processing have been associated with distinct ranges of spatial frequencies. Configural processing of faces depends chiefly on low spatial frequency (LSF) information whereas high spatial frequency (HSF) supports feature based processing. However, it has also been argued that face processing has a foveal-bias (HSF channels dominate the fovea). Here we used reach trajectories as a continuous behavioral measure to study perceptual processing of faces. Experimental stimuli were LSF-HSF hybrids of male and female faces superimposed and were presented peripherally and centrally. Subject reached out to touch a specified sex and their movements were recorded. The reaching trajectories reveal that there is less effect of (interference by) LSF faces at fovea as compared to periphery while reaching to HSF targets. These results demonstrate that peripherally presented LSF information, carried chiefly by magnocellular channels, enables efficient processing of faces, possibly via a retinotectal (subcortical) pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2136-2141
Number of pages6
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Face processing
  • Reach trajectories
  • Spatial frequencies
  • Subcortical pathway


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