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The Thatcher illusion in humans and monkeys

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Dahl,  CD
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Logothetis,  NK
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Dahl, C., Logothetis, N., Bülthoff, H., & Wallraven, C. (2010). The Thatcher illusion in humans and monkeys. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences (London), 277(1696), 2973-2981. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.0438.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-BDDE-A
Abstract
Primates possess the remarkable ability to differentiate faces of group members and to extract relevant information about the individual directly from the face. Recognition of conspecific faces is achieved by means of holistic processing, i.e. the processing of the face as an unparsed, perceptual whole, rather than as the collection of independent features (part-based processing). The most striking example of holistic processing is the Thatcher illusion. Local changes in facial features are hardly noticeable when the whole face is inverted (rotated 180°), but strikingly grotesque when the face is upright. This effect can be explained by a lack of processing capabilities for locally rotated facial features when the face is turned upside down. Recently, a Thatcher illusion was described in the macaque monkey analogous to that known from human investigations. Using a habituation paradigm combined with eye tracking, we address the critical follow-up questions raised in the aforementioned study to show the Thatch er illusion as a function of the observer‘s species (humans and macaques), the stimulus‘ species (humans and macaques) and the level of perceptual expertise (novice, expert).