Holistic processing – Beyond static face identity

Date & time

4–5pm 4 October 2016


PSYC G8, Psychology Building 39


Dr Rachel Robbins, Western Sydney University

Decades of previous research has shown that faces are processed holistically; that is, information is integrated across the face rather than single features being used. The vast majority of this work has been conducted for identity tasks on static faces. In our everyday lives, however, faces are generally moving. Two recent studies seemed to show that holistic processing did not occur for moving faces, but if true this would be problematic for our understanding of face recognition.

In this talk I will present three studies showing that holistic processing of identity DOES occur for moving faces, and the size of the effects are very similar to static faces. I will then discuss whether holistic processing might occur and/or be useful for non-identity judgments and present data on holistic processing of human bodies as well as holistic processing of faces in an attractiveness task.

Presenter: Dr Rachel Robbins

My research investigates face, body and object recognition, with a particular interest in holistic processing and whether processing style changes with experience. I have completed studies on normal and abnormal development, as well as expertise effects. I previously held post-doctoral fellowships at Macquarie University with Prof Max Coltheart and McMaster University in Canada with Profs Daphne Maurer and Terri Lewis. I am on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology and Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

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