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Putting a name to a face may be key to brain's facial expertise
Date:6/16/2009

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Prior research has shown that people can develop face-like expertise with novel objects, such as cars, and that once that expertise has been developed those objects are also processed holistically. But up until now it was unclear what it was about expertise that produced this holistic effect.

In the new study, Wong, Gauthier and Palmeri investigated this question by comparing two different types of training regimens with the same novel objects, called Ziggerins. The Ziggerins were created just for the experiment and have no real-world function.

One group learned to individuate these objects with unique names, much like we do with people and faces. Another group learned to very quickly categorize the objects based on shared structure. Each group became better than the other at the task on which it was trained, illustrating that different kinds of perceptual expertise can develop for the same objects. But, only the group that learned to individuate Ziggerins later processed novel Ziggerins holistically, like faces.

"This research indicates that not only is individuation key to our expertise with faces, but that this technique can be quickly applied to other objects," the authors said. "Hallmarks of face-like expertise do not require 10 years, or even 10 hours, of experience to emerge."


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Contact: Melanie Moran
melanie.moran@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-7970
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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