The Composite-Face Effect Survives Asymmetric Face Distortions
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In two experiments, we investigated whether adults use holistic processing even for faces that are grossly distorted because their eyes have been moved asymmetrically to violate the common layout of a face (distorting its first-order relations). To this end we used a compelling demonstration that faces are processed as wholes, the composite-face effect. Specifically, adults judged the similarity of sequentially presented top halves of normal (original condition) and distorted faces with one eye (one-eye condition) or two eyes (two-eyes condition) shifted up by an abnormal amount. Trials were either blocked by type of distortion (experiment 1) or intermixed within the experiment (experiment 2). In both experiments, participants demonstrated a composite-face effect of the same magnitude in the three conditions, a pattern suggesting that they processed holistically even faces whose first-order relations were violated.
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