Inverting line drawings of faces1

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Two conditions which both disrupt faces processing, inversion and the transformation of the face into an edge-based line drawing, have each been explained at least partially in terms of a disruption of configural information. Five experiments are reported in which the combined effects of the two manipulations were investigated, to find out how the combination of both affects face processing. Moreover, two different tasks were used: sequential matching of person identity and free identification. The general pattern of result revealed that in both tasks effects of both manipulations are rather additive and thus it is concluded that both manipulations are disruptive through different sorts of information processing. It is discussed how at least two different kinds of configural information are involved in face processing. The comparison of the two tasks, identification and sequential matching, indicates that identification is the more critical condition as it cannot be based on inferences that are probably due to short-term representations of critical features – although both tasks reveal similar results.

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