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Understanding face detection with visual arrays and real-world scenes

Nevard, Alice, Hole, Graham J, Prunty, Jonathan E., Bindemann, Markus (2023) Understanding face detection with visual arrays and real-world scenes. Visual Cognition, 31 (5). ISSN 1350-6285. E-ISSN 1464-0716. (doi:10.1080/13506285.2023.2277475) (KAR id:103009)

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Face detection has been studied by presenting faces in blank displays, object arrays, and real-world scenes. This study investigated whether these display contexts differ in what they can reveal about detection, by comparing frontal-view faces with those shown in profile (Experiment 1), rotated by 90º (Experiment 2), or turned upside-down (Experiment 3). In blank displays, performance for all face conditions was equivalent, whereas upright frontal faces showed a consistent detection advantage in arrays and scenes. Experiment 4 examined which facial characteristics drive this detection advantage by rotating either the internal or external facial features by 90º while the other features remained upright. Faces with rotated internal features were detected as efficiently as their intact frontal counterparts, whereas detection was impaired when external features were rotated. Finally, Experiment 5 applied Voronoi transformations to scenes to confirm that complexity of stimulus displays modulates the detection advantage for upright faces. These experiments demonstrate that context influences what can be learned about the face detection process. In complex visual arrays and natural scenes, detection proceeds more effectively when external facial features are preserved in an upright orientation. These findings are consistent with a cognitive detection template that focuses on general face-shape information.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/13506285.2023.2277475
Uncontrolled keywords: face; detection; visual search; array; scene
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Markus Bindemann
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2023 10:53 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2024 10:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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