Lateralized processing of faces: The role of features, configurations and familiarity

Bombari, Dario; Preuss, Nora; Mast, Fred W. (2014). Lateralized processing of faces: The role of features, configurations and familiarity. Swiss journal of psychology, 73(4), pp. 215-224. Huber 10.1024/1421-0185/a000140

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We investigated the lateralized processing of featural and configural information in face recognition in two divided visual field studies. In Experiment 1, participants matched the identity of a cue face containing either featural (scrambled faces) or configural (blurred faces) information with an intact test face presented subsequently either in the right visual field (RVF) or in the left visual field (LVF). Unilateral presentation was controlled by monitoring eye movements. The results show an advantage of the left hemisphere (LH) over the right hemisphere (RH) for featural processing and a specialization of the RH for configural compared to featural processing. In Experiment 2, we focused on configural processing and its relationship to familiarity. Either learned or novel test faces were presented in the LVF or the RVF. Participants recognized learned faces better when presented in the LVF than in the RVF, suggesting that the RH has an advantage in the recognition of learned faces. Because the recognition of familiar faces relies strongly on configural information (Buttle & Raymond, 2003), we argue that the advantage of the RH over the LH in configural processing is a function of familiarity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Bombari, Dario, Preuss, Nora, Mast, Fred


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Andrea Laura Wantz

Date Deposited:

25 Mar 2015 13:25

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:44

Publisher DOI:



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