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Psychology Special Seminar

Tuesday, November 13, 2018,

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  • Location: Wilson Hall • 111 21St Ave S • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 115

Kim Curby, PhD

Macquairie University, Australia

"Behind the face of holistic perception: Are there multiple paths to holistic perception?"

Holistic processing is a hallmark of the processing of face and non-face stimuli of expertise. However, recent research has demonstrated that face-like holistic processing can arise for untrained, novel stimuli containing salient Gestalt perceptual grouping cues. Further, disrupting perceptual grouping of parts within faces disrupts holistic face perception. Together these results suggest that domain-general perceptual mechanisms may play a role in supporting domain-specific (expert) holistic perception. It remains unclear whether this Gestalt-related holistic perception represents a different way to tap into the same holistic processing mechanisms or if it represents an alternative mechanistic pathway to holistic perception. I will present a series of experiments that address this open question. The data reveal evidence of reciprocal interference between the holistic processing of the novel Gestalt and face stimuli, suggesting that the mechanisms supporting holistic perception of the novel Gestalt stimuli may not be independent from those supporting holistic perception of faces. However, this overlap appears unlike the overlap between the holistic processing of faces and objects of expertise, suggesting that the nature of the overlap between holistic processing of faces and of salient Gestalt stimuli may be distinct from that between objects of expertise and faces. Together these findings suggest that there are stimulus-based and experience-based contributions to holistic processing that may be at play at different stages of processing.