Lateral visual hemifield asymmetry and sex differences in recognizing low and high spatial frequency filtered faces

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Abstract

The present study investigated whether low and high spatial frequency filtered images of faces were recognized differently when briefly presented in the right and the left visual fields of men and women. The method of confidence rating was applied to assess pooled Receiver Operating Characteristic curves based on z scores and the d' parameter of Signal Detection Theory for recognition indices, in addition to response times. The results showed that men better recognized low spatial frequency filtered faces than high spatial frequency filtered faces in both visual fields, suggesting that both the right and left hemispheres in males prioritize low spatial frequencies to recognize faces. The results for women were similar to men only when the faces were shown in the left visual field. When the faces were presented in the right visual field, women better recognized high spatial frequency filtered faces, suggesting that the left hemisphere in females prioritizes high spatial frequencies, whereas the right hemisphere in females prioritizes low spatial frequencies to recognize faces.

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