Sensitivity to information conveyed by horizontal contours is correlated with face identification accuracy
- 1Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
- 2Centre for Vision Research, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
We measured thresholds in a 1-of-10 face identification task in which stimuli were embedded in orientation-filtered Gaussian noise. For upright faces, the threshold elevation produced by the masking noise varied as a function of noise orientation: significantly greater masking was obtained with horizontal noise than with vertical noise. However, the orientation selectivity of masking was significantly less with inverted faces. The performance of an ideal observer was qualitatively similar to human observers viewing upright faces: the masking function exhibited a peak for horizontally oriented noise although the selectivity of masking was greater than what was observed in human observers. These results imply that significantly more information about facial identity was conveyed by horizontal contours than by vertical contours, and that human observers use this information more efficiently to identify upright faces than inverted faces. We also found a significant positive correlation between selectivity for horizontal information and face identification accuracy for upright, but not inverted faces. Finally, there was a significant positive correlation between horizontal tuning and the size of the face inversion effect. These results demonstrate that the use of information conveyed by horizontal contours is associated with face identification accuracy and the magnitude of the face inversion effect.
Keywords: face perception, face identification, masking, orientation tuning, ideal observer, face inversion effect
Citation: Pachai MV, Sekuler AB and Bennett PJ (2013) Sensitivity to information conveyed by horizontal contours is correlated with face identification accuracy. Front. Psychol. 4:74. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00074
Received: 07 September 2012; Paper pending published: 21 October 2012;
Accepted: 03 February 2013; Published online: 25 February 2013.
Copyright: © 2013 Pachai, Sekuler and Bennett. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Patrick J. Bennett, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org