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Testing Asymmetric Holistic Processing within a Face: No evidence from the Complete composite Task.

23.4083, Saturday, 16-May, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pavilion
Session: Face Perception: Wholes, parts, and configuration

Chao-Chih Wang1,2, Gary C.-W. Shyi1,2; 1Department of Psychology and Center for Research in Cognitive Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, Chia-Yi, Taiwan, 2Advanced Institute of Manufacturing with High-tech Innovations (AIM-HI), National Chung Cheng University, Chia-Yi, Taiwan

Face composite task has been one of the most popular research paradigms for securing evidence for holistic processing of upright faces. Aside from the fact that the exact mechanism underlying holistic processing remains elusive and controversial, some studies have suggested that holistic processing may not be evenly distributed in that processing the top-half of a face might induce stronger holistic processing than processing its bottom-half counterpart. Here in three experiments we further examined the possibility of asymmetric holistic processing. In Experiment 1, we equated perceptual discriminability between the top-half and the bottom-half of a face by showing only face halves and found no differences in performance between the two halves. In Experiment 2, using the face composite task with a complete design to reduce response bias, we failed to obtain evidence that would support the notion of asymmetric holistic processing between the top-half and bottom-half faces. Finally, in Experiment 3, in order to further reduce performance variability and to remove lingering holistic effect observed in the misalignment condition of Experiment 2, we doubled the number of trials and enlarged misalignment between top half and bottom half of a face to make it more visible. Even with these additional manipulations, we were unable to find evidence indicative of asymmetric holistic processing. Taken together, these findings suggest that holistic processing may well distribute homogenously within an upright face and support the perceptual field hypothesis where an upright face would induce relatively large perceptual field encompassing the entire face.

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