Holistic processing predicts face recognition

Jennifer J. Richler, Olivia S. Cheung, Isabel Gauthier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The concept of holistic processing is a cornerstone of face-recognition research. In the study reported here, we demonstrated that holistic processing predicts face-recognition abilities on the Cambridge Face Memory Test and on a perceptual face-identification task. Our findings validate a large body of work that relies on the assumption that holistic processing is related to face recognition. These findings also reconcile the study of face recognition with the perceptual-expertise work it inspired; such work links holistic processing of objects with people's ability to individuate them. Our results differ from those of a recent study showing no link between holistic processing and face recognition. This discrepancy can be attributed to the use in prior research of a popular but flawed measure of holistic processing. Our findings salvage the central role of holistic processing in face recognition and cast doubt on a subset of the face-perception literature that relies on a problematic measure of holistic processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-471
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Keywords

  • face perception
  • holistic processing
  • individual differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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