AC Little, PJ Hancock, LM DeBruine & BC Jones (2012). Adaptation to antifaces and the perception of correct famous identity in an average face. Frontiers in Perception Science, 3(19): 1-9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00019

Previous experiments have examined exposure to anti-identities (faces that possess traits opposite to an identity through a population average), finding that exposure to antifaces enhances recognition of the plus-identity images. Here we examine adaptation to antifaces using famous female celebrities. We demonstrate: that exposure to a color and shape transformed antiface of a celebrity increases the likelihood of perceiving the identity from which the antiface was manufactured in a composite face and that the effect shows size invariance (Experiment 1), equivalent effects are seen in internet and laboratory based studies (Experiment 2), adaptation to shape-only antifaces has stronger effects on identity recognition than adaptation to color-only antifaces (Experiment 3), and exposure to male versions of the antifaces does not influence the perception of female’s faces (Experiment 4). Across these studies we found an effect of order where aftereffects were more pronounced in early than later trials. Overall, our studies delineate several aspects of identity aftereffects and support the proposal that identity is coded relative to other faces with special reference to a relatively sex-specific mean face representation.

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