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The development of upright face perception depends on evolved orientation-specific mechanisms and experience

Duchaine, B., Rezlescu, C., Garrido, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-1955-6506 , Zhang, Y., Braga, M. V. & Susilo, T. (2023). The development of upright face perception depends on evolved orientation-specific mechanisms and experience. iScience, 26(10), article number 107763. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.107763


Here we examine whether our impressive ability to perceive upright faces arises from evolved orientation-specific mechanisms, our extensive experience with upright faces, or both factors. To do so, we tested Claudio, a man with a congenital joint disorder causing his head to be rotated back so that it is positioned between his shoulder blades. As a result, Claudio has seen more faces reversed in orientation to his own face than matched to it. Controls exhibited large inversion effects on all tasks, but Claudio performed similarly with upright and inverted faces in both detection and identity-matching tasks, indicating these abilities are the product of evolved mechanisms and experience. In contrast, he showed clear upright superiority when detecting “Thatcherized” faces (faces with vertically flipped features), suggesting experience plays a greater role in this judgment. Together, these findings indicate that both evolved orientation-specific mechanisms and experience contribute to our proficiency with upright faces.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license and permits non-commercial use of the work as published, without adaptation or alteration provided the work is fully attributed.
Publisher Keywords: Cognitive neuroscience, Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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