The face is the thing: faces as a whole are responsible for the lateralization of visual perceptual facial processing

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Previous research has identified multiple tasks that display asymmetries favoring either the left or right hemisphere of the brain. Among these tasks are judgments of facial features, emotion, numerosity, facial resemblance, gender, and line midpoint. Verbal tasks typically display a left hemisphere bias whereas spatial tasks typically display a right hemisphere bias. In an initial study using factor analysis to examine the relationship between many of the tasks that have previously shown hemispheric asymmetry, results showed that tasks involving the perception of a face and tasks involving non-face perception loaded on separate factors, indicating they involve independent processes even though both types of tasks are completed by the right hemisphere (Martin & Boles, in preparation). However, in this initial study, the question of whether emotional face tasks and nonemotional face tasks load on separate factors was not adequately addressed. In the current study, two experiments were conducted to look further into the ques-tion of whether the perception of the emotions on a face and the perception of nonemotional fa-cial features constitute the same perceptual process. Unfortunately, due to unreliable and non-significant tasks, the answer to this question remains inconclusive. The current study also looked at several new tasks which have previously shown hemispheric bias but have not yet been in-cluded in a factor analysis. The significance, reliability, and factor loadings of these tasks were assessed.

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Experimental psychology