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Sex and hemispheric differences in facial invariants extraction

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This present study investigates sex differences in hemispheric cooperation during a facial identity matching task. The method used was a divided visual field paradigm in which the probe face was neutral or expressive and the target face was always neutral. Probe and target faces were presented both unilaterally and sequentially. A total of 28 right-handed women and 32 right-handed men participated in this study. The results confirm the women's advantage in face recognition and reveal symmetrical interhemispheric cooperation in women only. In men, processing time was faster when the probe face appeared in the left visual field—and encoded by the right hemisphere—and the target in the right visual field—projected to the left hemisphere—compared to the reverse direction. Interestingly, the data also show that women were not influenced by the expression of the probe face when matching identity, whereas men were always faster when the probe face was neutral, like the target, than when it was expressive. These results are discussed in light of Bruce and Young's (1986) model, and in terms of view-dependent and view-independent processes.
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Keywords: Facial identity; Hemispheric cooperation; Sex differences; View-dependent coding; View-independent coding

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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