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[...] a face is created by taking a monochrome photograph of a real face, thresholding it (making all pixels darker than a given level black, and all other pixels white), cutting it out, and centering it in an ellipse. What is remarkable about Mooney faces is that typically they don't have recognizable features until one sees them as complete faces; one can only identify the parts of a Mooney face (nose, eyes, mouth, ears, etc.) after having first recognized it holistically as a face.
1204 News From the Field The neural responses were affected A Mooney (1957, Can J Psychol detect deception in body movement is by the category that participants were 11:216) face is a type of stimulus influenced by expertise. Expert bas- set to search. Specifically, a larger re- whose identification resists this char- ketball players differed from novices sponse appeared in one cortical area acterization. Such a face is created by in their sensitivity to faked passes, during a search for cars rather than taking a monochrome photograph of with experts relying on different types people, but another area showed the a real face, thresholding it (making all of cues to detect the deceptive move- opposite pattern. Most importantly, pixels darker than a given level black, ments. Sebanz and Shiffrar screened these responses occurred indepen- and all other pixels white), cutting participants for experience in playing dent of whether the scenes appeared it out, and centering it in an ellipse. and watching basketball and presented at attended or unattended locations. What is remarkable about Mooney the experienced basketball players and For example, when searching for a faces is that typically they don’t have inexperienced novices with dynamic car, the corresponding cortical area recognizable features until one sees (short videos clips) or static (series of showed increased responses when a them as complete faces; one can only still frames) stimuli depicting a player car appeared at either an attended or identify the parts of a Mooney face dribbling and preparing to throw ei- an unattended location. These find- (nose, eyes, mouth, ears, etc.) after ther a fake or real pass. The stimulus ings suggest that the top-down atten- having first recognized it holistically presentation stopped just short of any tional set determines which stimuli as a face. Given the holistic nature of potential pass, and observers judged are processed to the point of recogni- Mooney face processing, one might whether the player intended to fake or tion. Stimuli that are irrelevant on the expect that such stimuli would be to actually make a pass. Both experts basis of location can attract attention, immune to crowding. After all, there and novices could detect deception, but only if they match a participant’s seems to be no stage in the process- but experts were significantly better search set. Thus, attentional capture ing of a Mooney face in which the than novices when provided with the and subsequent recognition may de- individual features are sensed inde- dynamic cues contained in the video. pend on attentional set. —S.P.V. pendently of the whole face itself, In a second experiment, when only and therefore no way for the features dynamic cues were available, experts VISUAL IDENTIFICATION of different Mooney faces to be mis- readily detected deceptive movement, bound to another Mooney face. but novices did not. These results sug- Faces in the Crowd gest that participants with experience Surprisingly, however, as Farzin Farzin et al. (2009). Holistic crowding of were sensitive to a rich set of dynamic Mooney faces. J Vis, 9(6), Art. 18. et al. show c
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