Faster, stronger, lateralized: Low spatial frequency information supports face processing

Bhuvanesh Awasthi*, Jason Friedman, Mark A. Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Distinct visual pathways are selectively tuned for processing specific spatial frequencies. Recently, Awasthi, Friedman, and Williams (2011) reported fast categorisation of faces at periphery, arguing for primacy of low spatial frequency (LSF) information in face processing. However, previous studies have also documented rapid categorization of places and natural scenes. Here, we tested if the LSF advantage is face specific or also involved in place perception. We used visually guided reaching as a continuous behavioral measure to examine the processing of LSF and high spatial frequency (HSF) hybrids, presented at the periphery. Subjects reached out and touched targets and their movements were recorded. The trajectories revealed that LSF interference was both 95. ms earlier and stronger for faces than places and was lateralized to the left visual field. The early processing of LSF information supports the assumption that faces are prioritised and provides a (neural) framework for such specialised processing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3583-3590
    Number of pages8
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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