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ERIC Number: EJ791026
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 18
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 54
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Configural Processing and Face Viewpoint
McKone, Elinor
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v34 n2 p310-327 Apr 2008
Configural/holistic processing, a key property of face recognition, has previously been examined only for front views of faces. Here, 6 experiments tested front (0 degree), three-quarter (45 degree), and profile views (90 degree), using composite and peripheral inversion tasks. Results showed an overall disadvantage in identifying profiles. This arose entirely from part-based processing: View effects were as strong for disrupted-configuration faces (inverted, misaligned, scrambled) as for normal-configuration faces. In contrast, configural processing (aligned-misaligned difference, upright-inverted difference) was equally strong for all views under both clear and degraded viewing conditions. Findings argue that, although part-based processing is weakened by lower natural frequency of the profile view and/or occlusion of key face features, neither of these variables influences configural processing. This suggests that the functional role of configural processing is to allow reliable face identification despite substantial variance in local information across different natural images. Results also show that only image-plane rotation of faces (upright through inverted) affects configural processing; the contrast with depth rotation has potential implications for understanding the origin of configural processing in terms of innate versus experience-based expertise contributions. (Contains 8 figures, 4 tables, and 9 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia