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Cogn Sci. 2012 Mar;36(2):373-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01224.x. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Individual differences in (non-visual) processing style predict the face inversion effect.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, UK.


Recent research suggests that individuals with relatively weak global precedence (i.e., a smaller propensity to view visual stimuli in a configural manner) show a reduced face inversion effect (FIE). Coupled with such findings, a number of recent studies have demonstrated links between an advantage for feature-based processing and the presentation of traits associated with autism among the general population. The present study sought to bridge these findings by investigating whether a relationship exists between the possession of autism-associated traits (i.e., as indicated by individuals'"autism quotient" [(AQ) and the size of the FIE. Participants completed an on-line study in which the AQ was measured prior to a standard face recognition task where half of the faces were inverted at test. The results confirmed that higher AQ levels were predictive of smaller FIEs. Implications for a common underlying factor relating to processing orientation are discussed.

Copyright © 2012 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.

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