Navon letters and composite faces: same or different processing mechanisms?

Daniel Fitousi, Omer Azizi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Navon letters and composite faces are two fascinating demonstrations of hierarchical organization in perception. Many researchers believe that the two types of stimuli and their associated tasks gauge comparable holistic mechanisms. This belief is so common that the two paradigms are now being applied in tandem to measure impaired holistic processing in prosopagnosic patients. But are Navon letters and composite faces processed in a similar fashion? In the present study we take a closer look at their apparent affinity. We gain novel insights into their underlying mechanisms by fitting parameters of the linear ballistic accumulator (LBA) model to empirical correct and incorrect response times (RTs). The results reveal major differences in processing between the two tasks. We conclude that despite the presence of a compelling surface similarity, Navon compound letters and composite faces tap into separate psychological processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1219821
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 2023


  • LBA
  • Navon letters
  • composite face illusion
  • face recognition
  • holistic processing
  • response time models


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