Perception of Faces and Bodies: Similar or Different?

Document Type



Psychology (CMC)

Publication Date



Human faces and bodies are both complex and interesting perceptual objects, and both convey important social information. Given these similarities between faces and bodies, we can ask how similar are the visual processing mechanisms used to recognize them. It has long been argued that faces are subject to dedicated and unique perceptual processes, but until recently, relatively little research has focused on how we perceive the human body. Some recent paradigms indicate that faces and bodies are processed differently; others show similarities in face and body perception. These similarities and differences depend on the type of perceptual task and the level of processing involved. Future research should take these issues into account.

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© 2004 American Psychological Society