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Impact Factor:0.917 | Ranking:Psychology 64 out of 76 | Psychology, Experimental 80 out of 85
Source:2016 Release of Journal Citation Reports, Source: 2015 Web of Science Data

Featural, Configural, and Holistic Face-Processing Strategies Evoke Different Scan Patterns

  1. Dario Bombari
  2. Fred W Mast
  3. Janek S Lobmaier
  1. Institute of Psychology, University of Bern, Müsmattstrasse 45, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  1. e-mail: dario.bombari{at}psy.unibe.ch


In two experiments we investigated the role of eye movements during face processing. In experiment 1, using modified faces with primarily featural (scrambled faces) or configural (blurred faces) information as cue stimuli, we manipulated the way participants processed subsequently presented intact faces. In a sequential same–different task, participants decided whether the identity of an intact test face matched a preceding scrambled or blurred cue face. Analysis of eye movements for test faces showed more interfeatural saccades when they followed a blurred face, and longer gaze duration within the same feature when they followed scrambled faces. In experiment 2, we used a similar paradigm except that test faces were cued by intact faces, low-level blurred stimuli, or second-order scrambled stimuli (features were cut out but maintained their first-order relations). We found that in the intact condition participants performed fewer interfeatural saccades than in low-level blurred condition and had shorter gaze duration than in second-order scrambled condition. Moreover, participants fixated the centre of the test face to grasp the information from the whole face. Our findings suggest a differentiation between featural, configural, and holistic processing strategies, which can be associated with specific patterns of eye movements.

  • Received June 27, 2008.
  • Revision received June 30, 2009.
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