Perceptual Scale Information For Face Categorizations

Philippe G. Schyns and Aude Oliva
Department of Psychology
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, UK

Abstract When people categorize complex stimuli such as faces, they might flexibly use the perceptual information available from the visual input. Two experiments were run to test this hypothesis with two different categorizations (gender and expression) of face stimuli. Stimuli were hybrids: They combined either a man or a woman with a particular expression at a coarse spatial scale with a face of the opposite gender with a different expression at the fine spatial scale. Experiment 1 tested that a gender vs. an expression task preferentially tapped into different spatial scales of the hybrids. Experiment 2 changed the expression judgments to study whether this could revert the scale biases observed in Experiment 1. Results suggest that different categorizations of identical faces use different perceptual cues which elicit different perceptions of physically identical stimuli.