The time course of holistic processing is similar for face and non-face Gestalt stimuli

Kim M. Curby*, Lina Teichmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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There is evidence that holistic processing of faces and other stimuli rich in Gestalt perceptual grouping cues recruit overlapping mechanisms at early processing stages, but not at later stages where faces and objects of expertise likely overlap. This has led to suggestions of dual pathways supporting holistic processing; an early stimulus-based pathway (supporting processing of stimuli rich in perceptual grouping cues) and an experience-based pathway (supporting processing of object of expertise), with both pathways supporting face processing. Holistic processing markers are present when upright faces are presented for as little as 50-ms. If the overlap between holistic processing of faces and stimuli rich in grouping cues occurs early in processing, markers of holistic processing for these Gestalt stimuli should be present as early as those for faces. In Experiment 1, we investigate the time-course of the emergence of holistic processing markers for face and non-face Gestalt stimuli. The emergence of these markers for faces and the Gestalt stimuli was strikingly similar; both emerged with masked presentations as little as 50-ms. In Experiment 2, where the stimulus presentation was not masked, thus the presentation duration, but not the post-presentation perceptual processing, was constrained, patterns of holistic processing for these stimuli still did not diverge. These findings are consistent with an early, and possibly extended, temporal locus for the overlap in the holistic processing of faces and non-face stimuli rich in grouping cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1234-1247
Number of pages14
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • holistic perception
  • time course
  • perceptual grouping
  • Gestalt perception
  • face perception


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