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Seeing Objects as Faces Enhances Object Detection

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The face is a special visual stimulus. Both bottom-up processes for low-level facial features and top-down modulation by face expectations contribute to the advantages of face perception. However, it is hard to dissociate the top-down factors from the bottom-up processes, since facial stimuli mandatorily lead to face awareness. In the present study, using the face pareidolia phenomenon, we demonstrated that face awareness, namely seeing an object as a face, enhances object detection performance. In face pareidolia, some people see a visual stimulus, for example, three dots arranged in V shape, as a face, while others do not. This phenomenon allows us to investigate the effect of face awareness leaving the stimulus per se unchanged. Participants were asked to detect a face target or a triangle target. While target per se was identical between the two tasks, the detection sensitivity was higher when the participants recognized the target as a face. This was the case irrespective of the stimulus eccentricity or the vertical orientation of the stimulus. These results demonstrate that seeing an object as a face facilitates object detection via top-down modulation. The advantages of face perception are, therefore, at least partly, due to face awareness.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Stimuli and procedure used in Experiment 1. (a) Targets (first row) and an example of noise (second row). The targets on the left and middle were used in the face task, while the targets on the middle and right were used in the triangle task. (b) A trial sequence.
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fig1-2041669515606007: Stimuli and procedure used in Experiment 1. (a) Targets (first row) and an example of noise (second row). The targets on the left and middle were used in the face task, while the targets on the middle and right were used in the triangle task. (b) A trial sequence.

Mentions: All visual stimuli consisted of a circular frame (radius of 1.55°) with parts inside the circle differing for different stimuli (Figure 1(a)). The cartoon face was composed of a mouth and eyes. The three dots (radius of 0.13°) were arranged in triangle that could be seen as a face or as a triangle. The dots were 1.05° apart from the center of the circle. The vertices of the line-drawing triangle were also 1.05° apart from the center of the circle. A noise stimulus was composed of three dots and three lines. A mask stimulus was composed of five dots (radius of 0.13°) and five lines. The location of dots and lines, as well as the lengths of the lines, were randomly determined for each trial. Stimuli were centered vertically on the screen, while the horizontal position varied from trial to trial; the stimulus appeared on either the left or right side of the screen at one of three eccentricities (2.59°, 5.18°, or 7.76°).Figure 1.


Seeing Objects as Faces Enhances Object Detection
Stimuli and procedure used in Experiment 1. (a) Targets (first row) and an example of noise (second row). The targets on the left and middle were used in the face task, while the targets on the middle and right were used in the triangle task. (b) A trial sequence.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2 - License 3
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5016824&req=5

fig1-2041669515606007: Stimuli and procedure used in Experiment 1. (a) Targets (first row) and an example of noise (second row). The targets on the left and middle were used in the face task, while the targets on the middle and right were used in the triangle task. (b) A trial sequence.
Mentions: All visual stimuli consisted of a circular frame (radius of 1.55°) with parts inside the circle differing for different stimuli (Figure 1(a)). The cartoon face was composed of a mouth and eyes. The three dots (radius of 0.13°) were arranged in triangle that could be seen as a face or as a triangle. The dots were 1.05° apart from the center of the circle. The vertices of the line-drawing triangle were also 1.05° apart from the center of the circle. A noise stimulus was composed of three dots and three lines. A mask stimulus was composed of five dots (radius of 0.13°) and five lines. The location of dots and lines, as well as the lengths of the lines, were randomly determined for each trial. Stimuli were centered vertically on the screen, while the horizontal position varied from trial to trial; the stimulus appeared on either the left or right side of the screen at one of three eccentricities (2.59°, 5.18°, or 7.76°).Figure 1.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The face is a special visual stimulus. Both bottom-up processes for low-level facial features and top-down modulation by face expectations contribute to the advantages of face perception. However, it is hard to dissociate the top-down factors from the bottom-up processes, since facial stimuli mandatorily lead to face awareness. In the present study, using the face pareidolia phenomenon, we demonstrated that face awareness, namely seeing an object as a face, enhances object detection performance. In face pareidolia, some people see a visual stimulus, for example, three dots arranged in V shape, as a face, while others do not. This phenomenon allows us to investigate the effect of face awareness leaving the stimulus per se unchanged. Participants were asked to detect a face target or a triangle target. While target per se was identical between the two tasks, the detection sensitivity was higher when the participants recognized the target as a face. This was the case irrespective of the stimulus eccentricity or the vertical orientation of the stimulus. These results demonstrate that seeing an object as a face facilitates object detection via top-down modulation. The advantages of face perception are, therefore, at least partly, due to face awareness.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus