The horizontal and vertical relations in upright faces are transmitted by different spatial frequency ranges.

V. Goffaux*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Faces convey distinct types of information: features and their spatial relations, which are differentially vulnerable to inversion. While inversion largely disrupts the processing of vertical spatial relations (e.g. eyes' height), its effect is moderate for horizontal relations (e.g. interocular distance) and local feature properties. The SF ranges optimally transmitting horizontal and vertical face relations were here investigated to further address their functional role in face perception. Participants matched upright and inverted pairs of faces that differed at the level of local featural properties, horizontal relations in vertical relations. Irrespective of SF, the inversion effect was larger for vertical than horizontal and featural cues. Most interestingly, SF differentially influenced the processing of vertical, horizontal and featural cues in upright faces. Vertical relations were optimally processed in intermediate SF, which are known to carry useful information for face individuation. In contrast, horizontal relations were best conveyed by high SF, which are involved in the processing of local face properties. These findings not only confirm that horizontal and vertical relations play distinct functional roles in face perception, but they also further suggest a unique role of vertical relations in face individuation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-126
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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