The effects of rapid stimulus presentation on facial disfigurement judgements
(2013) The effects of rapid stimulus presentation on facial disfigurement judgements, no. 42.
People with a facial disfigurement encounter various problems in their everyday living. Members of society frequently attribute negative stereotypes towards those on the basis of their visible difference. Minimal research, if any, has investigated how perceivers process disfigured faces. Research suggests that category-based judgements may dominate over identity-based judgements when perceiving a facial disfigurement. This is due to the effortlessness associated with extracting categorical knowledge from a face. 137 participants were presented with a series of faces under both optimal (200 ms) and sub-optimal (20 ms) viewing conditions. Participants took part in two sets of trials where they were asked to determine the sex of the stimuli presented, or whether or not the stimuli had a facial disfigurement. Both participants' response times and accuracy of responses were the dependant measures of interest. The results disconfirmed the proposed hypothesis as it was found that facial disfigurement judgements appear to reflect a similar processing pattern as identity-based judgements, as opposed to category-based judgements. Overall, the findings have provided an insight into the perceptual processes involved when perceivers view disfigured faces. Further implications are discussed. Keywords: Person perception, categorisation, individuation, disfigurement