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date: 24 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

There remains ongoing debate regarding the mechanisms that give rise to rapid and accurate face recognition. We review findings from studies that examine face perception in normal observers and in individuals with face recognition impairments (‘prosopagnosia’) that shed light on these underlying mechanisms. Based on these results and on additional evidence from the literature, we argue that holistic face processing is not necessarily based on template-like, undifferentiated representations. Rather, we suggest that holistic processing can be accomplished by alternative mechanisms such as an automatic attentional strategy and/or that it can emerge from the interactive processing of face configuration and features. We also raise the possibility that similar mechanisms may be at play in other domains of visual processing, as well.

Keywords: perception, vision, face recognition, configural processing, prosopagnosia, featural processing, holistic processing

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