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Faces in commonly experienced configurations enter awareness faster due to their curvature relative to fixation

Moors, P; Wagemans, J; de-Wit, L; (2016) Faces in commonly experienced configurations enter awareness faster due to their curvature relative to fixation. PeerJ , 4 , Article e1565. 10.7717/peerj.1565. Green open access

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Abstract

The extent to which perceptually suppressed face stimuli are still processed has been extensively studied using the continuous flash suppression paradigm (CFS). Studies that rely on breaking CFS (b-CFS), in which the time it takes for an initially suppressed stimulus to become detectable is measured, have provided evidence for relatively complex processing of invisible face stimuli. In contrast, adaptation and neuroimaging studies have shown that perceptually suppressed faces are only processed for a limited set of features, such as its general shape. In this study, we asked whether perceptually suppressed face stimuli presented in their commonly experienced configuration would break suppression faster than when presented in an uncommonly experienced configuration. This study was motivated by a recent neuroimaging study showing that commonly experienced face configurations are more strongly represented in the fusiform face area. Our findings revealed that faces presented in commonly experienced configurations indeed broke suppression faster, yet this effect did not interact with face inversion suggesting that, in a b-CFS context, perceptually suppressed faces are potentially not processed by specialized (high-level) face processing mechanisms. Rather, our pattern of results is consistent with an interpretation based on the processing of more basic visual properties such as convexity.

Type: Article
Title: Faces in commonly experienced configurations enter awareness faster due to their curvature relative to fixation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1565
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1565
Additional information: © Moors et al. (2016). This is an Open Access article published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
Keywords: Face processing, Visual awareness, Binocular rivalry, Continuous flash suppression, Consciousness, Curvature, b-CFS
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10049529
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