State-Trace Analysis of the Face Inversion Effect


The Face Inversion Effect (FIE), the finding that inversion disproportionately affects face recognition, is one of the primary pieces of evidence suggesting that faces are encoded in a qualitatively different way to other stimuli (e.g., along configural as well as featural dimensions). However, when Loftus, Oberg and Dillon (2004) tested the FIE using state-trace analysis (Bamber, 1979), they found evidence for a one dimensional encoding of unfamiliar faces when inversion only occurred during the study phase of a recognition memory test. We report experimental results that replicate Loftus et al.’s findings and rule out several potential problems with their experimental manipulations and state-trace analysis.

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