Dual Processing Theory Case Study

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The human ability to recognize faces is innate (Bushneil, Sai and Mullin, 1989) but requires experience over a period of at least 10 years to maturate (Diamond and Carey, 1977). Throughout this period of development, humans get more and more accustomed to a heterogeneous range of faces, gradually increasing their level of experience in perceptual processing. What is interesting however, is that this period of development limits human face recognition abilities to upright orientations, as this is the context in which faces are most often encountered in day to day life (Schwaninger, Carbon and Leder, 2003). As a result, our perceptual system experiences increased difficulty in recognizing inverted faces (Yin, 1970; Valentine, 1988). The Thatcher Illusion accidently discovered by Peter Thompson (1980), is an interesting phenomenon that highlights this…show more content…
The study exploring this was conducted by Carbon et al., (2007) and compared the configural processing of faces in participants with congenital prosopagnosia against healthy control participants. Results showed that prosopagnosiacs were faster to respond in a task where they were asked to determine whether the expression of a Thatcherized face was grotesque or not (Carbon et al., 2007). These findings propose that control participants experienced a disruption of configural processing when presented with inverted faces (Carbon et al., 2007) as consistent with the Dual Processing theory and thus showed slower reaction times. Participants with prosopagnosia on the other hand, were seen to process faces as objects of non-expertise and follow a simpler processing route, thus accounting for their faster reaction times (Sturzel and Spillman,

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