Transfer of gender aftereffects in face silhouettes reveal face-specific mechanisms


Profile face silhouettes have recently been used to generate a behaviorally validated face space. An important method for studying perceptual spaces is the elicitation of aftereffects, shifts in perceptual judgments that occur after prolonged exposure to stimuli that occupy one locus in the perceptual space. Here we show that face silhouettes elicit gender aftereffects (changes in gender judgments following exposure to gendered faces) in a rapid, implicit adaptation paradigm. Further, we observe that these aftereffects persist across image transformations that preserve the perception of a silhouette as a face but not across transformations that disrupt it. Moreover, the aftereffects transfer between two-tone, profile-view silhouettes and gray-scale, front-view face photographs. Together these results suggest that gender processing occurs at a high level of visual representation and can be parametrically investigated within the silhouette face space methodology.

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