From the first days of life, humans preferentially orient towards upright faces, likely reflecting innate subcortical mechanisms. Here, we show that binocular rivalry can reveal face detection mechanisms in adults that are surprisingly similar to inborn face detection mechanism. We used continuous flash suppression (CFS), a variant of binocular rivalry, to render stimuli invisible at the beginning of each trial and measured the time upright and inverted stimuli needed to overcome such interocular suppression. Critically, specific stimulus properties previously shown to modulate looking preferences in neonates similarly modulated adults' awareness of faces presented during CFS. First, the advantage of upright faces in overcoming CFS was strongly modulated by contrast polarity and direction of illumination. Second, schematic patterns consisting of three dark blobs were suppressed for shorter durations when the arrangement of these blobs respected the face-like configuration of the eyes and the mouth, and this effect was modulated by contrast polarity. No such effects were obtained in a binocular control experiment not involving CFS, suggesting a crucial role for face-sensitive mechanisms operating outside of conscious awareness. These findings indicate that visual awareness of faces in adults is governed by perceptual mechanisms that are sensitive to similar stimulus properties as those modulating newborns' face preferences.

Adults' awareness of faces follows newborns' looking preferences.

Peelen, Marius Vincent;
2011

Abstract

From the first days of life, humans preferentially orient towards upright faces, likely reflecting innate subcortical mechanisms. Here, we show that binocular rivalry can reveal face detection mechanisms in adults that are surprisingly similar to inborn face detection mechanism. We used continuous flash suppression (CFS), a variant of binocular rivalry, to render stimuli invisible at the beginning of each trial and measured the time upright and inverted stimuli needed to overcome such interocular suppression. Critically, specific stimulus properties previously shown to modulate looking preferences in neonates similarly modulated adults' awareness of faces presented during CFS. First, the advantage of upright faces in overcoming CFS was strongly modulated by contrast polarity and direction of illumination. Second, schematic patterns consisting of three dark blobs were suppressed for shorter durations when the arrangement of these blobs respected the face-like configuration of the eyes and the mouth, and this effect was modulated by contrast polarity. No such effects were obtained in a binocular control experiment not involving CFS, suggesting a crucial role for face-sensitive mechanisms operating outside of conscious awareness. These findings indicate that visual awareness of faces in adults is governed by perceptual mechanisms that are sensitive to similar stimulus properties as those modulating newborns' face preferences.
T., Stein; Peelen, Marius Vincent; P., Sterzer
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/91104
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