Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 80, Issue 6, pp 1449–1460 | Cite as

How holistic processing of faces relates to cognitive control and intelligence

  • Isabel Gauthier
  • Kao-Wei Chua
  • Jennifer J. Richler


The Vanderbilt Holistic Processing Test for faces (VHPT-F) is the first standard test designed to measure individual differences in holistic processing. The test measures failures of selective attention to face parts through congruency effects, an operational definition of holistic processing. However, this conception of holistic processing has been challenged by the suggestion that it may tap into the same selective attention or cognitive control mechanisms that yield congruency effects in Stroop and Flanker paradigms. Here, we report data from 130 subjects on the VHPT-F, several versions of Stroop and Flanker tasks, as well as fluid IQ. Results suggested a small degree of shared variance in Stroop and Flanker congruency effects, which did not relate to congruency effects on the VHPT-F. Variability on the VHPT-F was also not correlated with Fluid IQ. In sum, we find no evidence that holistic face processing as measured by congruency in the VHPT-F is accounted for by domain-general control mechanisms.


Face recognition Individual differences Stroop Flanker 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (SBE-0542013 and SMA-1640681). K.-W.C. was supported by a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship. We thank Susan Benear for help with data collection.


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Gauthier
    • 1
  • Kao-Wei Chua
    • 2
  • Jennifer J. Richler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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