Effects of spatial frequency content on classification of face gender and expression.

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The role of different spatial frequency bands on face gender and expression categorization was studied in three experiments. Accuracy and reaction time were measured for unfiltered, low-pass (cut-off frequency of 1 cycle/deg) and high-pass (cutoff frequency of 3 cycles/deg) filtered faces. Filtered and unfiltered faces were equated in root-mean-squared contrast. For low-pass filtered faces reaction times were higher than unfiltered and high-pass filtered faces in both categorization tasks. In the expression task, these results were obtained with expressive faces presented in isolation (Experiment 1) and also with neutral-expressive dynamic sequences where each expressive face was preceded by a briefly presented neutral version of the same face (Experiment 2). For high-pass filtered faces different effects were observed on gender and expression categorization. While both speed and accuracy of gender categorization were reduced comparing to unfiltered faces, the efficiency of expression classification remained similar. Finally, we found no differences between expressive and non expressive faces in the effects of spatial frequency filtering on gender categorization (Experiment 3). These results show a common role of information from the high spatial frequency band in the categorization of face gender and expression.
En tres experimentos se estudió el papel de diferentes bandas de frecuencias espaciales sobre la categorización del género y la expresión de las caras. Se tomaron medidas de precisión y tiempo de reacción a caras no filtradas y a caras filtradas a paso bajo (frecuencia de corte de 1 ciclo/grado) y a paso alto (frecuencia de corte de 3 ciclos/grado). Todas las caras fueron igualadas en energía de contraste. En ambas tareas, los tiempos de reacción a las caras filtradas a paso bajo fueron superiores a los de las caras filtradas a paso alto y no filtradas. En la tarea de expresión, se obtuvo este resultado tanto con caras expresivas presentadas por separado (Experimento 1) como con secuencias dinámicas en las que cada cara expresiva era precedida de una versión neutra de la misma cara presentada brevemente (Experimento 2). En el caso de las caras filtradas a paso alto se observaron efectos diferentes sobre la categorización de género y de expresión. Aunque tanto la rapidez como la precisión de la categorización de género se redujeron en esta condición, la eficiencia de la clasificación de la expresión quedó inalterada. Por último, no se encontraron diferencias entre caras expresivas y no expresivas en cuanto a los efectos de las distintas frecuencias espaciales sobre la categorización del género. Estos resultados muestran que la banda de altas frecuencias espaciales desempeña un papel importante en la categorización del género y la expresión de las caras.
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