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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2009 Nov;132(3):286-92. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.07.004. Epub 2009 Aug 7.

Task effects, performance levels, features, configurations, and holistic face processing: a reply to Rossion.

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Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, 3970 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


A recent article in Acta Psychologica ("Picture-plane inversion leads to qualitative changes of face perception" by Rossion [Rossion, B. (2008). Picture-plane inversion leads to qualitative changes of face perception. Acta Psychologica (Amst), 128(2), 274-289]) criticized several aspects of an earlier paper of ours [Riesenhuber, M., Jarudi, I., Gilad, S., & Sinha, P. (2004). Face processing in humans is compatible with a simple shape-based model of vision. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B (Supplements), 271, S448-S450]. We here address Rossion's criticisms and correct some misunderstandings. To frame the discussion, we first review our previously presented computational model of face recognition in cortex [Jiang, X., Rosen, E., Zeffiro, T., Vanmeter, J., Blanz, V., & Riesenhuber, M. (2006). Evaluation of a shape-based model of human face discrimination using FMRI and behavioral techniques. Neuron, 50(1), 159-172] that provides a concrete biologically plausible computational substrate for holistic coding, namely a neural representation learned for upright faces, in the spirit of the original simple-to-complex hierarchical model of vision by Hubel and Wiesel. We show that Rossion's and others' data support the model, and that there is actually a convergence of views on the mechanisms underlying face recognition, in particular regarding holistic processing.

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