Does temporal integration of face parts reflect holistic processing?

Olivia S. Cheung, Jennifer J. Richler, W. Stewart Phillips, Isabel Gauthier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined whether temporal integration of face parts reflects holistic processing or response interference. Participants learned to name two faces "Fred" and two "Bob." At test, the top and bottom halves of different faces formed composites and were presented briefly separated in time. Replicating prior findings (Singer & Sheinberg, Vision Research, 46, 1838-1847, 2006), naming of the target half for aligned composites was slowed when the irrelevant half was from a face with a different name rather than from the original face. However, no interference was observed when the irrelevant half had a name identical to the name of the target half but came from a different learned face, arguing against a true holistic effect. Instead, response interference was obtained when the target half briefly preceded the irrelevant half. Experiment 2 confirmed a double dissociation of holistic processing versus response interference for intact faces versus temporally separated face halves, suggesting that simultaneous presentation of facial information is critical for holistic processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-483
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Composite paradigm
  • Face perception
  • Holistic perception
  • Oscillator strength
  • Response conflict
  • Temporal information processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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