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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.


Average d′ in Experiment 3. Error bars indicate SEM.
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fig4-2041669515606007: Average d′ in Experiment 3. Error bars indicate SEM.

Mentions: Figure 4 and Table 1 show the results of Experiment 3. A two-way mixed ANOVA of task and eccentricity revealed the significant main effect of eccentricity (F(2, 42) = 5.49, p < .01,  = 0.21), while the main effects of task (F(1, 21) = 0.05, p = .83,  = 0.00) and interaction (F(2, 42) = 0.95, p = .40,  = 0.04) were not significant. These results suggested that the instruction to see a stimulus, as a face was not sufficient to enhance the stimulus detection. To examine further the effects of the cartoon face, we compared the d′ values of face task in Experiment 3 with those obtained in Experiment 1. A two-way mixed ANOVA of experiment × eccentricity revealed significant main effects of experiment (F(1, 21) = 8.08, p < .001,  = 0.28) and eccentricity (F(2, 42) = 10.4, p < .001,  = 0.33). The interaction almost reached significance (F(2, 42) = 3.06, p = .057,  = 0.13). Thus, the d′ of the face task in Experiment 3 was even lower than that of the face task in Experiment 1 and was comparable with the triangle task in Experiment 3. These results further supported that viewing cartoon face was prerequisite to enhance the detection of three-dot stimulus being seen as a face. We also compared the d′ values of triangle task between Experiments 1 and 3. A two-way mixed ANOVA revealed the significant main effect of eccentricity (F(2, 36) = 9.19, p < .01,  = 0.34), while the main effect of experiment (F(1, 18) = 0.09, p = .77,  = 0.01) and interaction (F(2, 36) = 1.22, p = .30,  = 0.06) were not significant. These results suggested the presentation of line-drawing triangle did not affect the task performances.Figure 4.


Seeing Objects as Faces Enhances Object Detection
Average d′ in Experiment 3. Error bars indicate SEM.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

fig4-2041669515606007: Average d′ in Experiment 3. Error bars indicate SEM.
Mentions: Figure 4 and Table 1 show the results of Experiment 3. A two-way mixed ANOVA of task and eccentricity revealed the significant main effect of eccentricity (F(2, 42) = 5.49, p < .01,  = 0.21), while the main effects of task (F(1, 21) = 0.05, p = .83,  = 0.00) and interaction (F(2, 42) = 0.95, p = .40,  = 0.04) were not significant. These results suggested that the instruction to see a stimulus, as a face was not sufficient to enhance the stimulus detection. To examine further the effects of the cartoon face, we compared the d′ values of face task in Experiment 3 with those obtained in Experiment 1. A two-way mixed ANOVA of experiment × eccentricity revealed significant main effects of experiment (F(1, 21) = 8.08, p < .001,  = 0.28) and eccentricity (F(2, 42) = 10.4, p < .001,  = 0.33). The interaction almost reached significance (F(2, 42) = 3.06, p = .057,  = 0.13). Thus, the d′ of the face task in Experiment 3 was even lower than that of the face task in Experiment 1 and was comparable with the triangle task in Experiment 3. These results further supported that viewing cartoon face was prerequisite to enhance the detection of three-dot stimulus being seen as a face. We also compared the d′ values of triangle task between Experiments 1 and 3. A two-way mixed ANOVA revealed the significant main effect of eccentricity (F(2, 36) = 9.19, p < .01,  = 0.34), while the main effect of experiment (F(1, 18) = 0.09, p = .77,  = 0.01) and interaction (F(2, 36) = 1.22, p = .30,  = 0.06) were not significant. These results suggested the presentation of line-drawing triangle did not affect the task performances.Figure 4.

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.