The Face Inversion Effect: Roles of First and Second-Order Configural Information
McLaren, Ian P.L.
The American Journal of Psychology
University of Illinois Press
Copyright © 2016 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. This article may not be photocopied, distributed, or used for purposes other than the terms agreed to by UIP. The published version of this article is available at http://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/ajp.html.
Reason for embargo
The face inversion effect (FIE) is a reduction in recognition performance for inverted faces compared with upright faces. Several studies have proposed that a type of configural information, called second-order relational information, becomes more important with increasing expertise and gives rise to the FIE. However, recently it has been demonstrated that it is possible to obtain an FIE with facial features presented in isolation, showing that configural information is not necessary for this effect to occur. In this article we test whether there is a role for configural information in producing the FIE and whether second- or first-order relational information is particularly important. In Experiment 1, we investigated the role of configural information and local feature orientation by using a new type of “Thatcherizing” transformation on our set of faces, aiming to disrupt second-order and local feature orientation information but keeping all first-order properties unaltered. The results showed a significant reduction in the FIE for these “new” Thatcherized faces, but it did not entirely disappear. Experiment 2 confirmed the FIE for new Thatcherized faces, and Experiment 3 establishes that both local feature orientation and first-order relational information have a role in determining the FIE.
Vol. 129, No. 1, pp. 23 - 23