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Perception. 2003;32(9):1109-16.

Pulling faces: an investigation of the face-distortion aftereffect.

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Colour, Form, and Motion Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


After adaptation to a face distorted to look unnaturally thin or fat, a normal face appears distorted in the opposite direction (Webster and MacLin 1999 Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 6 647-653). When the adapting face is oriented 45 degrees from vertically upright and the test face 45 degrees in the opposite direction, the axis of perceived distortion changes with the orientation of the face. The magnitude of this aftereffect shows a reduction of approximately 40% from that found when both adapting and test faces are tilted identically. This finding suggests that to a large degree the aftereffect is mediated not by low-level retinotopic (image-based) visual mechanisms but at a higher level of object-based processing. Aftereffects of a similar magnitude are obtained when adapting and test images are both either upright or inverted, or for an upright adapter and an inverted test; but aftereffects are smaller when the adapter is inverted and the test upright. This pattern of results suggests that the face-distortion aftereffect is mediated by object-processing mechanisms including, but not restricted to, configurational face-processing mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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