Role of surface information in object, face and scene recognition
Theories of recognition differ to the extent that they consider object or scene representations as being only mediated by the shape of the object, or if surface details such as color and texture are part of the representation and contribute directly to recognition (see Tanaka et al., 2001, TICS, 5, 211-215). One of our contributions to this issue has been to develop the colorized Snodgrass and Vanderwart stimulus set and comparative normative data, showing that color improves basic-level object recognition (Rossion & Pourtois, 2004).
Using event-related potentials (ERPs), we have also shown that color information speeds up scene categorization (Go ffaux et al., 2005).
More recently, we have tested the role of surface and shape information on individualizing faces (Jiang et al., 2009; Caharel et al., 2009). Our results show that while surface information contributes greatly to face individualization, its contrubution appears to be delayed with respect to shape information (Caharel et al., 2009) and less dependent on right hemisphere face-sensitive areas such as the FFA (Jiang et al., 2009).
Caharel, S., Jiang, F., Blanz, V., Rossion, B. (2009). Recognizing an individual face: 3D shape contributes earlier than 2D surface reflectance information. NeuroImage, 47, 1809-1818. [PDF]