Title

The Face of Humanity: Configural Face Processing Influences Ascriptions of Humanness

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-1-2016

Abstract

Across three studies, we test the hypothesis that the perceived “humanness” of a human face can have its roots, in part, in low-level, feature-integration processes typical of normal face perception—configural face processing. We provide novel evidence that perceptions of humanness/dehumanization can have perceptual roots. Relying on the well-established face inversion paradigm, we demonstrate that disruptions of configural face processing also disrupt the ability of human faces to activate concepts related to humanness (Experiment 1), disrupt categorization of human faces as human (but not animal faces as animals; Experiment 2), and reduce the levels of humanlike traits and characteristics ascribed to faces (Experiment 3). Taken together, the current findings provide a novel demonstration that dehumanized responses can arise from bottom-up perceptual cues, which suggests novel causes and consequences of dehumanizing responses.

DOI

10.1177/1948550615609734

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