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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2011 Sep;138(1):204-10. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.06.005. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

The inversion effect reveals species differences in face processing.

Author information

1
Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences & Center for Translational Social Neuroscience, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. lparr@emory.edu

Abstract

Face recognition is a complex skill that requires the integration of facial features across the whole face, e.g., holistic processing. It is unclear whether, and to what extent, other species process faces in a manner that is similar to humans. Previous studies on the inversion effect, a marker of holistic processing, in nonhuman primates have revealed mixed results in part because many studies have failed to include alternative image categories necessary to understand whether the effects are truly face-specific. The present study re-examined the inversion effect in rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees using comparable testing methods and a variety of high quality stimuli including faces and nonfaces. The data support an inversion effect in chimpanzees only for conspecifics' faces (expert category), suggesting face-specific holistic processing similar to humans. Rhesus monkeys showed inversion effects for conspecifics, but also for heterospecifics' faces (chimpanzees), and nonfaces images (houses), supporting important species differences in this simple test of holistic face processing.

PMID:
21784381
PMCID:
PMC3208376
DOI:
10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.06.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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