Are face representations depth cue invariant?
Dehmoobadsharifabadi, A., & Farivar, R.
The visual system can process three-dimensional depth cues defining surfaces of objects, but it is unclear whether such information contributes to complex object recognition, including face recognition. The processing of different depth cues involves both dorsal and ventral visual pathways. We investigated whether facial surfaces defined by individual depth cues resulted in meaningful face representations-representations that maintain the relationship between the population of faces as defined in a multidimensional face space. We measured face identity aftereffects for facial surfaces defined by individual depth cues (Experiments 1 and 2) and tested whether the aftereffect transfers across depth cues (Experiments 3 and 4). Facial surfaces and their morphs to the average face were defined purely by one of shading, texture, motion, or binocular disparity. We obtained identification thresholds for matched (matched identity between adapting and test stimuli), non-matched (non-matched identity between adapting and test stimuli), and no-adaptation (showing only the test stimuli) conditions for each cue and across different depth cues. We found robust face identity aftereffect in both experiments. Our results suggest that depth cues do contribute to forming meaningful face representations that are depth cue invariant. Depth cue invariance would require integration of information across different areas and different pathways for object recognition, and this in turn has important implications for cortical models of visual object recognition.