Skip to Main Content
Participants learned through feedback to haptically classify the identity of upright versus inverted versus scrambled faces depicted in simple 2D raised-line displays. We investigated whether identity classification would make use of a configural face representation, as is evidenced for vision and 3D haptic facial displays. Upright and scrambled faces produced equivalent accuracy, and both were identified more accurately than inverted faces. The mean magnitude of the haptic inversion effect for 2D facial identity was a sizable 26 percent, indicating that the upright orientation was ??privileged?? in the haptic representations of facial identity in these 2D displays, as with other facial modalities. However, given the effect of scrambling, we conclude that configural processing was not employed; rather, only local information about the features was used, the features being treated as oriented objects within a body-centered frame of reference. The results indicate a fundamental difference between haptic identification of 2D facial depictions and 3D faces, paralleling a corresponding difference in recognition of nonface objects.