Attention to upside-down faces: An exception to the inversion effect

Markus Bindemann, A. Mike Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


When faces are turned upside-down, many aspects of face processing are severely disrupted. Here we report an instance where this face inversion effect is not found. In a visual cueing paradigm an inverted face was paired with an inverted object in a cue display, followed by a target in one of the cue locations (Experiment 1). Responses were faster to face-cued targets, indicating an attention bias for inverted faces. When upright and inverted face cues were paired in Experiment 2, no attention bias for either cue type was found, suggesting that attention was drawn equally to both types of stimuli. Despite this, attention could be biased selectively toward upright or inverted faces in Experiment 3, by manipulating the predictiveness of either type of cue, which shows that observers can distinguish upright and inverted faces under these conditions. A fourth experiment provided a replication of Experiment 2 with an extended stimulus set and increased task demands. These findings suggest that visual attributes that can influence the allocation of an observer's attention to faces are available in both upright and inverted orientations. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2555-2561
Number of pages7
JournalVision Research
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • face
  • inversion
  • attention
  • detection
  • configural information
  • visual-attention
  • recognition
  • performance
  • inhibition
  • scenes
  • return
  • pop


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