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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.


Stimuli used in Experiment 4.
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fig5-2041669515606007: Stimuli used in Experiment 4.

Mentions: Eighteen volunteers were newly recruited. The methods were identical to those of Experiment 1, except for the following. The participants performed the face task and triangle task in separate sessions. The session order was counterbalanced across participants. In both tasks, the three-dot target was replaced by four dots arranged in a diamond shape (Figure 5). Thus, in the face task, the target was either the cartoon face or the diamond, whereas the line-drawing triangle and the diamond were used as targets in the triangle task. Prior to each session, the participants previewed the target stimuli and were instructed to detect a “face or diamond shape” in the face task and to detect a “triangle or diamond shape” in the triangle task. The stimulus eccentricity was either 2.59° or 7.76°. A main session consisted of 120 noise-stimulus and 120 target-stimulus trials. In the target-stimulus trials, each of four conditions (two target types × two eccentricities) was repeated 30 times. In the noise-stimulus trials, each of two eccentricities was repeated 60 times. The trial sequence was determined in a pseudorandom manner.Figure 5.


Seeing Objects as Faces Enhances Object Detection
Stimuli used in Experiment 4.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

fig5-2041669515606007: Stimuli used in Experiment 4.
Mentions: Eighteen volunteers were newly recruited. The methods were identical to those of Experiment 1, except for the following. The participants performed the face task and triangle task in separate sessions. The session order was counterbalanced across participants. In both tasks, the three-dot target was replaced by four dots arranged in a diamond shape (Figure 5). Thus, in the face task, the target was either the cartoon face or the diamond, whereas the line-drawing triangle and the diamond were used as targets in the triangle task. Prior to each session, the participants previewed the target stimuli and were instructed to detect a “face or diamond shape” in the face task and to detect a “triangle or diamond shape” in the triangle task. The stimulus eccentricity was either 2.59° or 7.76°. A main session consisted of 120 noise-stimulus and 120 target-stimulus trials. In the target-stimulus trials, each of four conditions (two target types × two eccentricities) was repeated 30 times. In the noise-stimulus trials, each of two eccentricities was repeated 60 times. The trial sequence was determined in a pseudorandom manner.Figure 5.

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.