Developmental commonalities between object and face recognition in adolescence

Article


Juttner, M. C., Wakui, E., Petters, D. A. and Davidoff, J. 2016. Developmental commonalities between object and face recognition in adolescence. Frontiers in Psychology. 7 (385).
AuthorsJuttner, M. C., Wakui, E., Petters, D. A. and Davidoff, J.
Abstract

In the visual perception literature, the recognition of faces has often been contrasted with that of non-face objects, in terms of differences with regard to the role of parts, part relations and holistic processing. However, recent evidence from developmental studies has begun to blur this sharp distinction. We review evidence for a protracted development of object recognition that is reminiscent of the well-documented slow maturation observed for faces. The prolonged development manifests itself in a retarded processing of metric part relations as opposed to that of individual parts and offers surprising parallels to developmental accounts of face recognition, even though the interpretation of the data is less clear with regard to holistic processing. We conclude that such results might indicate functional commonalities between the mechanisms underlying the recognition of faces and non-face objects, which are modulated by different task requirements in the two stimulus domains.

In the visual perception literature, the recognition of faces has often been contrasted with that of non-face objects. While object recognition has been characterized as being part-based (e.g., Biederman, 1987) the processing of faces has been described as being more holistic (e.g., Farah, 1996; Farah et al., 1998). The precise meaning of ‘holistic’ is a matter of debate (e.g., Maurer et al., 2002; Piepers and Robbins, 2012) but in its most extreme form it implies a representation of faces as undifferentiated wholes, or templates, which distinctly differs from the part-based representation postulated for objects. Such an assumed dichotomy between face and object recognition based on the nature of their putative representations has been particularly prominent in an early model by Farah (1996). It proposes that object and face perception are functionally independent and only share a stage of early visual processing. More recent variants of this model (e.g., McKone and Yovel, 2009; Piepers and Robbins, 2012) acknowledge the potential contribution of parts to the recognition of both objects and faces but continue to confine configural and holistic processing to face-like stimuli. In this paper we will discuss recent evidence from developmental studies that question Farah’s view by highlighting the role of configural and holistic processing in non-face object recognition. We will review findings of that work and compare them with corresponding results in the – far more extensively studied – domain of face perception.

JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Journal citation7 (385)
ISSN1664-1078
Year2016
PublisherFrontiers Media
Publisher's version
License
CC BY
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00385
Publication dates
Print15 Mar 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Mar 2016
Accepted04 Mar 2016
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council
Heidehofstiftung
Copyright informationThis Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. it is reproduced with permission.
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