The shape of facial features and the spacing among them generate similar inversion effects: A reply to Rossion (2008)

Galit Yovel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is often argued that picture-plane face inversion impairs discrimination of the spacing among face features to a greater extent than the identity of the facial features. However, several recent studies have reported similar inversion effects for both types of face manipulations. In a recent review, Rossion (2008) claimed that similar inversion effects for spacing and features are due to methodological and conceptual shortcomings and that data still support the idea that inversion impairs the discrimination of features less than that of the spacing among them. Here I will claim that when facial features differ primarily in shape, the effect of inversion on features is not smaller than the one on spacing. It is when color/contrast information is added to facial features that the inversion effect on features decreases. This obvious observation accounts for the discrepancy in the literature and suggests that the large inversion effect that was found for features that differ in shape is not a methodological artifact. These findings together with other data that are discussed are consistent with the idea that the shape of facial features and the spacing among them are integrated rather than dissociated in the holistic representation of faces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalActa Psychologica
Volume132
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • Face inversion effect
  • Face recognition
  • Holistic processing

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