||Efficient search for a face by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
Tomonaga, MasakiImura, Tomoko
52015-07-16 , Nature Publishing Group
The face is quite an important stimulus category for human and nonhuman primates in their social lives. Recent advances in comparative-cognitive research clearly indicate that chimpanzees and humans process faces in a special manner; that is, using holistic or configural processing. Both species exhibit the face-inversion effect in which the inverted presentation of a face deteriorates their perception and recognition. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that humans detect human faces among non-facial objects rapidly. We report that chimpanzees detected chimpanzee faces among non-facial objects quite efficiently. This efficient search was not limited to own-species faces. They also found human adult and baby faces-but not monkey faces-efficiently. Additional testing showed that a front-view face was more readily detected than a profile, suggesting the important role of eye-to-eye contact. Chimpanzees also detected a photograph of a banana as efficiently as a face, but a further examination clearly indicated that the banana was detected mainly due to a low-level feature (i.e., color). Efficient face detection was hampered by an inverted presentation, suggesting that configural processing of faces is a critical element of efficient face detection in both species. This conclusion was supported by a simple simulation experiment using the saliency model.