Holistic Processing of Static and Moving Faces

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Abstract

Humans’ face ability develops and matures with extensive experience in perceiving, recognizing, and interacting with faces that move most of the time. However, how facial movements affect 1 core aspect of face ability—holistic face processing—remains unclear. Here we investigated the influence of rigid facial motion on holistic and part-based face processing by manipulating the presence of facial motion during study and at test in a composite face task. The results showed that rigidly moving faces were processed as holistically as static faces (Experiment 1). Holistic processing of moving faces persisted whether facial motion was presented during study, at test, or both (Experiment 2). Moreover, when faces were inverted to eliminate the contributions of both an upright face template and observers’ expertise with upright faces, rigid facial motion facilitated holistic face processing (Experiment 3). Thus, holistic processing represents a general principle of face perception that applies to both static and dynamic faces, rather than being limited to static faces. These results support an emerging view that both perceiver-based and face-based factors contribute to holistic face processing, and they offer new insights on what underlies holistic face processing, how information supporting holistic face processing interacts with each other, and why facial motion may affect face recognition and holistic face processing differently.

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