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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 18 December 2012 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00563

The face inversion effect following pitch and yaw rotations: investigating the boundaries of holistic processing

  • School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Upright faces are thought to be processed holistically. However, the range of views within which holistic processing occurs is unknown. Recent research by McKone (2008) suggests that holistic processing occurs for all yaw-rotated face views (i.e., full-face through to profile). Here we examined whether holistic processing occurs for pitch, as well as yaw, rotated face views. In this face recognition experiment: (i) participants made same/different judgments about two sequentially presented faces (either both upright or both inverted); (ii) the test face was pitch/yaw rotated by between 0° and 75° from the encoding face (always a full-face view). Our logic was as follows: if a particular pitch/yaw-rotated face view is being processed holistically when upright, then this processing should be disrupted by inversion. Consistent with previous research, significant face inversion effects (FIEs) were found for all yaw-rotated views. However, while FIEs were found for pitch rotations up to 45°, none were observed for 75° pitch rotations (rotated either above or below the full face). We conclude that holistic processing does not occur for all views of upright faces (e.g., not for uncommon pitch rotated views), only those that can be matched to a generic global representation of a face.

Keywords: face recognition, inversion, holistic processing, pitch and yaw axes

Citation: Favelle SK and Palmisano S (2012) The face inversion effect following pitch and yaw rotations: investigating the boundaries of holistic processing. Front. Psychology 3:563. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00563

Received: 07 September 2012; Accepted: 28 November 2012;
Published online: 18 December 2012.

Edited by:

Rachel A. Robbins, University of Western Sydney, Australia

Reviewed by:

Peter J. Hills, Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Daniel Piepers, University of Western Sydney, Australia

Copyright: © 2012 Favelle and Palmisano. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Simone K. Favelle, School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong 2522, NSW, Australia. e-mail: simone_favelle@uow.edu.au