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Journal Article

Configural processing and perceptions of head tilt


Schwaninger,  A
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Collishaw, S., Hole, G., & Schwaninger, A. (2005). Configural processing and perceptions of head tilt. Perception, 34(2), 163-168. doi:10.1068/p5216.

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Configural processing is important for face recognition, but its role in other types of face-processing is unclear. In the present study, participants made judgements of head tilt for faces in which the vertical position of the internal facial region was varied. We found a highly reliable relationship between inner-face position and perceived head tilt. We also found that changes in inner-face position affected the perceived dimensions of an individual unchanged facial feature: compared to control faces, nearly two-thirds of faces in which the features had been moved down were judged to have a longer nose. This finding suggests an early integration of configural and featural processing to create a stable holistic percept of the face. The demonstration of holistic processing at a basic perceptual level (as opposed to during face recognition) is important as it constrains possible models of the relationships between featural and configural processing.