Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ty W. Boyer


Facial recognition is an important cognitive function in communication and is how we process, remember, and recall facial information. Research concerning processing styles and their effects on facial recognition accuracy is a prominent subject within the field of cognitive psychology. Holistic processing and featural processing have been experimentally manipulated in various ways with an aim to determine which of these processing styles would aid with accurate recognition. The current study is a replication of a previous study that examined the effects of masks on face information processing and recognition. This study assesses the effects of partial occlusion on face information processing and how these obstructions may affect recognition accuracy. Occlusion and orientation were manipulated in face stimuli during the learning phase of the experiment. This was followed by a test phase that presented a combination of familiar faces from the learning phase and novel faces and required an indication of whether or not those faces were recognizable. The analysis of the data indicated higher recognition accuracy scores when faces were upright than inverted, and higher accuracy scores for when faces were unoccluded than when an occluder was present. This indicated that when holistic processing is obstructed and featural processing was adopted instead, face recognition scores decreased.

Keywords: facial recognition, facial processing, holistic processing, featural processing, partial occlusion, visual attention