Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program

Biology and Biomedical Sciences: Neurosciences


English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 4-17-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

John R. Pruett


I propose that the intermediate neural mechanisms involved in face processing may be better understood by studying concentric form-from-structure integration. This dissertation involves behavioral adaptation and masking experiments that provide evidence regarding whether face perception and concentric form-from-structure perception engage a common processing mechanism.

Despite faces being complex visual stimuli, humans are able to perceive and identify faces rapidly. Studies of face perception strongly suggest that this ability involves processing the arrangement of the face features. Although high-level aspects of face perception have been studied extensively, less is known about the intermediate mechanisms involved in face processing. Converging evidence has shown that concentric form-from-structure perception involves processing the arrangement of the features and that face-sensitive mid- and high-level visual regions may be involved.

I used visual adaptation and visual masking experiments to test this hypothesis. My data show that masking with, but not adaptation to, concentric form-from-structure stimuli impairs face discrimination. The results of this thesis provide evidence that concentric form-from-structure and face perception may share a common processing mechanism.


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