Personal familiarity enhances sensitivity to horizontal structure during processing of face identity
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What makes identification of familiar faces seemingly effortless? Recent studies using unfamiliar face stimuli suggest that selective processing of information conveyed by horizontally oriented spatial frequency components supports accurate performance in a variety of tasks involving matching of facial identity. Here, we studied upright and inverted face discrimination using stimuli with which observers were either unfamiliar or personally familiar (i.e., friends and colleagues). Our results reveal increased sensitivity to horizontal spatial frequency structure in personally familiar faces, further implicating the selective processing of this information in the face processing expertise exhibited by human observers throughout their daily lives.
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