Is the inversion effect in rhesus monkeys face-specific?
This study investigated the face inversion effect in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Face stimuli consisted of ten black-and-white examples of unfamiliar rhesus monkey faces, brown capuchin faces, and human faces. Two non-face categories included ten examples of automobiles and abstract shapes. All stimuli were presented in a sequential matching-to-sample format using an automated joystick-testing paradigm. Subjects performed significantly better on upright than on inverted presentations of automobiles, rhesus monkey and capuchin faces, but not human faces or abstract shapes. These results are inconsistent with data from humans and chimpanzees that show the inversion effect only for categories of stimuli for which subjects have developed expertise. The inversion effect in rhesus monkeys does not appear to be face-specific, and should therefore not be used as a marker of specialized face processing in this species.