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Lateralised repetition priming for featurally and configurally manipulated familiar faces: Evidence for differentially lateralised processing mechanisms

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Although early research suggested that the right hemisphere was dominant for processing faces, more recent studies have provided evidence for both hemispheres being involved, at least to some extent. In this experiment we examined hemispheric specialisations by using a lateralised repetition-priming paradigm with selectively degraded faces. Configurally degraded prime faces produced negative priming when presented to the left visual field (right hemisphere) and positive priming (facilitation) when presented to the right visual field (left hemisphere). Featurally degraded prime faces produced the opposite pattern of effects: positive priming when presented to the left visual field (right hemisphere) and negative priming when presented to the right visual field (left hemisphere). These results support the proposal that each hemisphere is differentially specialised for processing distinct forms of facial information: the right hemisphere for configural information and the left hemisphere for featural information.
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Keywords: Face recognition; Hemispheric specialisations; Repetition priming

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Dundee, Dundee, UK 2: University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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