8th Annual Meeting of the International Multisensory Research Forum
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Isabelle Buelthoff

Cross-modal face distinctiveness
Single Paper Presentation

Isabelle Buelthoff
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Germany

Fiona Newell
School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin

     Abstract ID Number: 67
     Full text: Not available
     Last modified: May 30, 2007
     Presentation date: 07/06/2007 3:30 PM in Quad General Lecture Theatre
     (View Schedule)

Face distinctiveness has been investigated extensively in the visual domain. The face space framework (Valentine, 1991) has been widely used to explain the underlying mechanisms. We investigated whether face distinctiveness could also depend on multi-sensory information.
Participants first learned a set of typical faces which were divided into two sets. Each face of one set was presented with a distinctive auditory stimulus while the faces of the other set were paired with typical auditory stimuli. Auditory stimuli were either utterances or instrumental sounds. Following the training session, participants performed either an old/new visual recognition task or the same visual recognition task preceded by an auditory priming stimulus.
The results suggest that only utterances but not arbitrary sounds can be associated closely to faces and allow an interaction between visual and auditory inputs that results in changes of the perceptual quality of the faces, i.e. faces become distinctive when they have been associated to distinctive utterances. Furthermore it suggests that the face space framework should accommodate multi-sensory input.

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