The role of attention in the detection and identification of faces

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated] A face conveys a wealth of information - identity, mood, direction of eye gaze, race, gender and age. This thesis investigates the role of visual attention in detecting and identifying faces. Part I contains a general introduction to the field of study and reviews research investigating whether face processing is anatomically and functionally special. A review of studies examining the influence of attention on face perception is also included. Part II consists of a series of four experiments investigating the effects of divided attention upon the holistic coding of centrally presented target faces. Holistic coding was measured with a variant of the part-whole paradigm devised by Tanaka and Farah (1993). Despite the presence of to-be-ignored flanker faces, holistic coding was evident when full attention could be allocated to the target face. In the divided attention conditions, holistic encoding of the target face was disrupted when participants matched two upright flanker faces, but not when inverted flanker faces were matched.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Publication statusUnpublished - 2002

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  • This thesis has been made available in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository as part of a UWA Library project to digitise and make available theses completed before 2003. If you are the author of this thesis and would like it removed from the UWA Profiles and Research Repository, please contact


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