The Processing of Invariant and Variant Face Cues in the Garner Paradigm
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Faces provide a complex source of information via invariant (e.g., race, sex and age) and variant (e.g., emotional expressions) cues. At present, it is not clear whether these different cues are processed separately or whether they interact. Using the Garner Paradigm, Experiment 1 confirmed that race, sex, and age cues affected the categorization of faces according to emotional expression whereas emotional expression had no effect on the categorization of faces by sex, age, or race. Experiment 2 used inverted faces and replicated this pattern of asymmetrical interference for race and age cues, but not for sex cues for which no interference on emotional expression categorization was observed. Experiment 3 confirmed this finding with a more stringently matched set of facial stimuli. Overall, this study shows that invariant cues interfere with the processing of emotional expressions. It indicates that the processing of invariant cues, but not of emotional expressions, is obligatory and that it precedes that of emotional expressions. © 2011 American Psychological Association.
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