Orientation-Specific Adaptation on Face Recognition

  • Emily Mack MacEwan University


Human observers are more sensitive to faces than any other visual stimulus. For decades, researchers have been interested in determining the visual information contained within faces that make them “special”. Recent evidence suggests that the most important information in faces for recognition is contained within horizontally oriented frequency bands of the face image (Dakin & Watt, 2009), which suggests that a disproportionate amount of information processing comes from mechanisms that are horizontally tuned. If this is true, then adapting those mechanisms in an orientation-specific manner should influence our ability to process faces. In this research, we will evaluate whether or not orientation-specific adaptation influences face recognition. If face processing heavily depends upon horizontal information, then selectively adapting those mechanisms should reduce observers’ ability to recognize faces. The same effect should not be observed with vertical adaptation. Overall, these results will provide insights into the role that low-level orientation information plays in facial recognition.

Discipline: Psychology Honours

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nicole Anderson