Perceptual load effects on processing distractor faces indicate face-specific capacity limits

Article


Thoma, V. and Lavie, Nilli 2013. Perceptual load effects on processing distractor faces indicate face-specific capacity limits. Visual Cognition. 21 (8), pp. 1053-1076.
AuthorsThoma, V. and Lavie, Nilli
Abstract

The claim that face perception is mediated by a specialized ‘face module’ that proceeds automatically, independently of attention (e.g., Kanwisher, 2000) can be reconciled with load theory claims that visual perception has limited capacity (e.g., Lavie, 1995) by hypothesizing that face perception has face-specific capacity limits. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the effects of face and non-face perceptual load on distractor face processing. Participants searched a central array of either faces or letter-strings for a pop star versus politician’s face or name and made speeded classification responses. Perceptual load was varied through the relevant search set size. Response competition effects from a category-congruent or incongruent peripheral distractor face were eliminated with more than two faces in the face-search task but were unaffected by perceptual load in the name search task. These results support the hypothesis that face perception has face-specific capacity limits and resolve apparent discrepancies in previous research.

JournalVisual Cognition
Journal citation21 (8), pp. 1053-1076
ISSN1464-0716
1350-6285
Year2013
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Web address (URL)http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13506285.2013.853717
Publication dates
Print08 Nov 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Nov 2013
Copyright informationThis is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article submitted for consideration in Visual Cognition (2013), available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13506285.2013.853717
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