Is All Face Processing Holistic? The View From UCSD
What are the features underlying face processing? This is a question that appears to have been asked and answered multiple times. The most recent answer appears to be that the features used in recognizing faces are holistic in nature (Biederman & Kalocsai, 1998; Farah, Wilson, Drain, & Tanaka, 1998). Generally, holistic is used to refer to a system that is sensitive to conﬁgural properties of the stimulus and that displays context-dependent interpretation of the parts (Farah et al., 1998). Both Farah and Biederman consider this to be characteristic of face recognition versus visual object recognition, where the evidence suggests that “parts” of the object are processed more independently, and changes in conﬁgurations of the parts have less impact on recognition (see also discussions in Uttal, 1988, chap. 12, this volume; Wenger & Townsend, chap. 7, this volume).