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Are Greebles like faces? Using the neuropsychological exception to test the rule.

journal contribution
posted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by Isabel Gauthier, Marlene BehrmannMarlene Behrmann, Michael J. Tarr

Which image geometries count as face-like and which do not? Across multiple experiments, novel objects called Greebles have been used to argue that face-specific effects can be obtained with non-face stimuli under certain situations, in particular with expert observers. However, this claim depends on the argument that these non-face stimuli are not a priori treated by the face processing system. To address this question, CK, a neuropsychological patient well-known for exhibiting severe visual object agnosia and dyslexia but intact face processing, was tested with Greebles. CK performed poorly on Greebles, indicating that his intact face-specific abilities do not extend to include Greebles. These results suggest that insofar as CK is relying on face-specific visual processes, these processes do not a priori treat Greebles as faces.