Facial coding is disrupted at equiluminance

Pearce, Samuel L. and Arnold, Derek H. (2013) Facial coding is disrupted at equiluminance. Perception, 42 8: 835 – 848-835 – 848. doi:10.1068/p7420

Author Pearce, Samuel L.
Arnold, Derek H.
Title Facial coding is disrupted at equiluminance
Journal name Perception   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0301-0066
Publication date 2013-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1068/p7420
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 42
Issue 8
Start page 835 – 848
End page 835 – 848
Total pages 14
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Human face recognition is disrupted by the reversal of luminance contrast polarity (ie photo negatives—see Galper 1970 Psychonomic Science 19 207–208; Johnston et al 1992 Perception 21 365–375), while recognition of other objects is less impacted (Nederhouser et al 2007 Vision Research 47 2134–2142; Subramaniam and Biederman 1997 Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 38 998). This suggests that correct patterns of luminance contrast are important for facial coding. Here we investigate this further by minimising luminance contrast. We contrast peoples’ ability to categorise cars and faces when images vary in luminance and when images are altered to predominantly contain differences in colour (equiluminance). Eliminating luminance contrast had a greater adverse impact on facial classifications relative to car categorisations. This was true even though precautions were taken to equate visibility, and despite equal levels of performance when images contained luminance contrast. These results were not due to images containing markedly different spectra, as the effect persisted for facial images altered to match car images in this regard, and performance in both tasks dropped off proportionally with increasing levels of image blur. Finally, consistent with previous observations, we show that facial coding is not only adversely impacted at equiluminance but becomes even worse when the polarity of luminance contrast is reversed. Our data show that the correct pattern of luminance contrast is very important for facial coding. We suggest that this is related to the role of luminance contrast in signalling 3-D shape from shading.
Keyword Equiluminance
Facial coding
Face inversion
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 15 Nov 2013, 06:40:56 EST by Dr Derek Arnold on behalf of School of Psychology