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The role of surface pigmentation for recognition revealed by contrast reversal in faces and Greebles

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Quoc Vuong


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Faces are difficult to recognize when viewed as negatives [Galper (1970). Recognition of faces in photographic negative. Psychonomic Science, 19, 207]. Here we examined the contribution of surface properties to this contrast effect, and whether it is modulated by object category. We tested observers in a matching task using faces or Greebles, presented with or without pigmentation. When stimulus pairs were shown with mismatched contrast (e.g., positive–negative), there was a decrement in performance. This decrement was larger when the stimuli were shown with pigmentation, and this difference was more pronounced with faces than with Greebles. Overall, contrast reversal disrupts the recognition of both faces and objects to a greater degree in the presence of pigmentation, suggesting that surface properties are important components of the object representation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vuong QC, Peissig JJ, Harrison MC, Tarr MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Vision Research

Year: 2005

Volume: 45

Issue: 10

Pages: 1213-1223

ISSN (print): 0042-6989

ISSN (electronic): 1878-5646

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2004.11.015


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