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Perceptual Integration and the Composite Face Effect.

Liu, C., Young, A., Basra, G., Ren, N. and Chen, W., 2020. Perceptual Integration and the Composite Face Effect. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73 (7), 1101-1114.

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1747021819899531.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1177/1747021819899531


The composite face paradigm is widely used to investigate holistic perception of faces. In the paradigm, parts from different faces (usually the top and bottom halves) are recombined. The principal criterion for holistic perception is that responses involving the component parts of composites in which the parts are aligned into a face-like configuration are disrupted compared to the same parts in a misaligned (not face-like) format. This is often taken as evidence that seeing a whole face in the aligned condition interferes with perceiving its separate parts, but the extent to which the effect is perceptually driven remains unclear. We used salient perceptual categories of gender (male or female) and race (Asian or Caucasian appearance) to create composite stimuli from parts of faces that varied orthogonally on these characteristics. In Experiment 1, participants categorized the gender of the parts of aligned composite and misaligned images created from parts with the same (congruent) or different (incongruent) gender and the same (congruent) or different (incongruent) race. In Experiment 2 the same stimuli were used but the task changed to categorizing race. In both experiments there was a strong influence of the task-relevant manipulation on the composite effect, with slower responses to aligned stimuli with incongruent gender in Experiment 1 and incongruent race in Experiment 2. In contrast, the task-irrelevant variable (race in Experiment 1, gender in Experiment 2) did not exert much influence on the composite effect in either experiment. These findings show that whilst holistic integration of salient visual properties makes a strong contribution to the composite face effect, it clearly also involves targeted processing of an attended visual characteristic.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:composite effect, holistic processing, face perception, face gender, face race
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:33232
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:14 Jan 2020 12:31
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:19


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