Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 602–612 | Cite as

Effects of high-pass and low-pass spatial filtering on face identification

  • Nicholas P. Costen
  • Denis M. Parker
  • Ian Craw


If face images are degraded by block averaging, there is a nonlinear decline in recognition accuracy as block size increases, suggesting that identification requires a critical minimum range of object spatial frequencies. The identification of faces was measured with equivalent Fourier low-pass filtering and block averaging preserving the same information and with high-pass transformations. In Experiment 1, accuracy declined and response time increased in a significant nonlinear manner in all cases as the spatial-frequency range was reduced. However, it did so at a faster rate for the quantized and high-passed images. A second experiment controlled for the differences in the contrast of the high-pass faces and found a reduced but significant and nonlinear decline in performance as the spatial-frequency range was reduced. These data suggest that face identification is preferentially supported by a band of spatial frequencies of approximately 8-16 cycles per face; contrast or line-based explanations were found to be inadequate. The data are discussed in terms of current models of face identification.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas P. Costen
    • 1
  • Denis M. Parker
    • 1
  • Ian Craw
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AberdeenAberdeenScotland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGlasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowScotland
  3. 3.ATR Human Information Processing Research LaboratoriesKyotoJapan

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