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Recognizing rotated faces and Greebles: What properties drive the face inversion effect?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Quoc Vuong



The fact that faces are strongly affected by picture-plane inversion has often been cited as evidence for face-specific mechanisms. It is unclear, however, whether this “face inversion effect” is driven by properties shared by faces or whether the effect is specific to faces as a category. To address this issue, we compared the recognition of faces and novel Greebles, which were specifically matched to faces along various stimulus dimensions. In two experiments, participants were required to name individual faces or Greebles following training at either single or multiple orientations. We found that performance systematically decreased with increasing misorientation from either the upright (Experiment 1) or nearest trained orientation (Experiment 2). Importantly, the magnitude of this orientation effect was similar for both faces and Greebles. Taken together, these results suggest that the face inversion effect may be a consequence of the visual homogeneity of the stimulus category, regardless of the category.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ashworth ARS, Vuong QC, Rossion B, Tarr MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Visual Cognition

Year: 2008

Volume: 16

Issue: 6

Pages: 754-784

Print publication date: 01/08/2008

ISSN (print): 1350-6285

ISSN (electronic): 1464-0716

Publisher: Psychology Press


DOI: 10.1080/13506280701381741


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