Facilitation and interference are asymmetric in holistic face processing

Haiyang JIN*, Luyan JI, Olivia S. CHEUNG, William G. HAYWARD

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


A hallmark of face specificity is holistic processing. It is typically measured by paradigms such as the part–whole and composite tasks. However, these tasks show little evidence for common variance, so a comprehensive account of holistic processing remains elusive. One aspect that varies between tasks is whether they measure facilitation or interference from holistic processing. In this study, we examined facilitation and interference in a single paradigm to determine the way in which they manifest during a face perception task. Using congruent and incongruent trials in the complete composite face task, we found that these two aspects are asymmetrically influenced by the location and cueing probabilities of the target facial half, suggesting that they may operate somewhat independently. We argue that distinguishing facilitation and interference has the potential to disentangle mixed findings from different popular paradigms measuring holistic processing in one unified framework.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Early online date4 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Composite face task
  • Face perception
  • Facilitation
  • Holistic processing
  • Interference


Dive into the research topics of 'Facilitation and interference are asymmetric in holistic face processing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this