The 'double face' illusion


Hancock PJB & Foster C (2012) The 'double face' illusion. Perception, 41 (1), pp. 57-70.;

We report three experiments intended to characterise aspects of the ‘double’ face illusion, formed by replicating the eyes and mouth below the originals. Such doubled faces are disturbing to look at. We find there are wide individual differences in ability to detect that a face has been doubled when presented briefly and masked. These differences appear to relate to perceptual speed, since they correlate with the ability to identify a briefly presented famous face. Doubling has a significant effect on identification, though much less than inversion. In a reaction time study, participants are faster to decide that a face has been doubled as it is rotated away from upright. The final study shows that normal and doubled faces do not pop out from each other, but reveals a processing overhead of 40-60ms per doubled face. We offer some speculations as to the cause of the perceptual effects.

face recognition; face search; inversion; gaze; face detection; Face perception; Face Physiology

Perception: Volume 41, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2012
Publisher URL