Second-order relational manipulations affect both humans and monkeys

Christoph D. Dahl, Nikos K. Logothetis, Heinrich H. Bülthoff, Christian Wallraven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recognition and individuation of conspecifics by their face is essential for primate social cognition. This ability is driven by a mechanism that integrates the appearance of facial features with subtle variations in their configuration (i.e., second-order relational properties) into a holistic representation. So far, there is little evidence of whether our evolutionary ancestors show sensitivity to featural spatial relations and hence holistic processing of faces as shown in humans. Here, we directly compared macaques with humans in their sensitivity to configurally altered faces in upright and inverted orientations using a habituation paradigm and eye tracking technologies. In addition, we tested for differences in processing of conspecific faces (human faces for humans, macaque faces for macaques) and non-conspecific faces, addressing aspects of perceptual expertise. In both species, we found sensitivity to second-order relational properties for conspecific (expert) faces, when presented in upright, not in inverted, orientation. This shows that macaques possess the requirements for holistic processing, and thus show similar face processing to that of humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25793
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume6
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 3 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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