Ensemble coding of face identity is not independent of the coding of individual identity

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Abstract

Information about a group of similar objects can be summarized into a compressed code, known as ensemble coding. Ensemble coding of simple stimuli (e.g., groups of circles) can occur in the absence of detailed exemplar coding, suggesting dissociable processes. Here, we investigate whether a dissociation would still be apparent when coding facial identity, where individual exemplar information is much more important. We examined whether ensemble coding can occur when exemplar coding is difficult, as a result of large sets or short viewing times, or whether the two types of coding are positively associated. We found a positive association, whereby both ensemble and exemplar coding were reduced for larger groups and shorter viewing times. There was no evidence for ensemble coding in the absence of exemplar coding. At longer presentation times, there was an unexpected dissociation, where exemplar coding increased yet ensemble coding decreased, suggesting that robust information about face identity might suppress ensemble coding. Thus, for face identity, we did not find the classic dissociation - of access to ensemble information in the absence of detailed exemplar information - that has been used to support claims of distinct mechanisms for ensemble and exemplar coding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1357-1366
Number of pages10
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Volume71
Issue number6
Early online date11 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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title = "Ensemble coding of face identity is not independent of the coding of individual identity",
abstract = "Information about a group of similar objects can be summarized into a compressed code, known as ensemble coding. Ensemble coding of simple stimuli (e.g., groups of circles) can occur in the absence of detailed exemplar coding, suggesting dissociable processes. Here, we investigate whether a dissociation would still be apparent when coding facial identity, where individual exemplar information is much more important. We examined whether ensemble coding can occur when exemplar coding is difficult, as a result of large sets or short viewing times, or whether the two types of coding are positively associated. We found a positive association, whereby both ensemble and exemplar coding were reduced for larger groups and shorter viewing times. There was no evidence for ensemble coding in the absence of exemplar coding. At longer presentation times, there was an unexpected dissociation, where exemplar coding increased yet ensemble coding decreased, suggesting that robust information about face identity might suppress ensemble coding. Thus, for face identity, we did not find the classic dissociation - of access to ensemble information in the absence of detailed exemplar information - that has been used to support claims of distinct mechanisms for ensemble and exemplar coding.",
keywords = "Journal Article",
author = "Neumann, {Markus F} and Ryan Ng and Gillian Rhodes and Romina Palermo",
year = "2018",
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T1 - Ensemble coding of face identity is not independent of the coding of individual identity

AU - Neumann, Markus F

AU - Ng, Ryan

AU - Rhodes, Gillian

AU - Palermo, Romina

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N2 - Information about a group of similar objects can be summarized into a compressed code, known as ensemble coding. Ensemble coding of simple stimuli (e.g., groups of circles) can occur in the absence of detailed exemplar coding, suggesting dissociable processes. Here, we investigate whether a dissociation would still be apparent when coding facial identity, where individual exemplar information is much more important. We examined whether ensemble coding can occur when exemplar coding is difficult, as a result of large sets or short viewing times, or whether the two types of coding are positively associated. We found a positive association, whereby both ensemble and exemplar coding were reduced for larger groups and shorter viewing times. There was no evidence for ensemble coding in the absence of exemplar coding. At longer presentation times, there was an unexpected dissociation, where exemplar coding increased yet ensemble coding decreased, suggesting that robust information about face identity might suppress ensemble coding. Thus, for face identity, we did not find the classic dissociation - of access to ensemble information in the absence of detailed exemplar information - that has been used to support claims of distinct mechanisms for ensemble and exemplar coding.

AB - Information about a group of similar objects can be summarized into a compressed code, known as ensemble coding. Ensemble coding of simple stimuli (e.g., groups of circles) can occur in the absence of detailed exemplar coding, suggesting dissociable processes. Here, we investigate whether a dissociation would still be apparent when coding facial identity, where individual exemplar information is much more important. We examined whether ensemble coding can occur when exemplar coding is difficult, as a result of large sets or short viewing times, or whether the two types of coding are positively associated. We found a positive association, whereby both ensemble and exemplar coding were reduced for larger groups and shorter viewing times. There was no evidence for ensemble coding in the absence of exemplar coding. At longer presentation times, there was an unexpected dissociation, where exemplar coding increased yet ensemble coding decreased, suggesting that robust information about face identity might suppress ensemble coding. Thus, for face identity, we did not find the classic dissociation - of access to ensemble information in the absence of detailed exemplar information - that has been used to support claims of distinct mechanisms for ensemble and exemplar coding.

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