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Face identification in the near-absence of focal attention

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  • Mathematics


In contrast to artificial geometric shapes, natural scenes and face-gender can be processed even when spatial attention is not fully available. In this study, we investigate whether a finer discrimination, at the level of the individual, is possible in the near-absence of focal attention. Using the paradigm, subjects performed face identification on faces of celebrities and relatively unfamiliar individual, along with a task that is known to engage spatial attention. We find that face-identification performance is only modestly impaired under dual-task conditions. These results suggest that the visual system is well able to make complex judgments of natural stimuli, even when attention is not full available.

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