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The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions$
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Arthur G. Shapiro and Dejan Todorovic

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199794607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.001.0001

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The Presidential Illusion

The Presidential Illusion

Chapter:
(p.628) Chapter 90 The Presidential Illusion
Source:
The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions
Author(s):

Sharon Gilad-Gutnick

Pawan Sinha

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794607.003.0090

The effectiveness of the presidential illusion underscores the important point that by excluding external facial features, such as the head and hair shape, we lose critical information about the way faces are represented in real life. This chapter considers the question of whether whole-head processing is a general principle that can be extended to all face processes or if it specifically reflects the nature of facial encoding used by the visual system for the identification of individuals. For example, would supplementing the internal features of one face with those of another affect the perception of other common facial attributes, such as gender, race, or age? The eyes, nose, and mouth are believed to be the primary purveyors of facial identity. The presidential illusion challenges this dogma and suggests that external head features (the hair and jawline) are also crucial constituents of facial representation and strongly influence identity judgments.

Keywords:   presidential illusion, facial representation, identity judgments, whole-head processing, facial encoding

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