Holistic processing unites face parts across time

Vision Res. 2006 May;46(11):1838-47. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2005.11.005. Epub 2005 Dec 20.


When complementary halves of different familiar faces are combined into a new face, there is interference in the identification of either half. This "composite face effect" has been taken as strong evidence that faces are processed holistically. Here, we demonstrate that this effect can persist when the two parts of a face are separated by up to 80 ms of visual noise, showing that the parts of a face interact not only spatially but also temporally. We suggest that the processing underlying robust identification accepts an accumulation of evidence over time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Face*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Perceptual Distortion / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychophysics
  • Reaction Time
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Time Factors