Becoming a "Greeble" expert: exploring mechanisms for face recognition.
Sensitivity to configural changes in face processing has been cited as evidence for face-exclusive mechanisms. Alternatively, general mechanisms could be fine-tuned by experience with homogeneous stimuli. We tested sensitivity to configural transformations for novices and experts with nonface stimuli ("Greebles"). Parts of transformed Greebles were identified via forced-choice recognition. Regardless of expertise level, the recognition of parts in the Studied configuration was better than in isolation, suggesting an object advantage. For experts, recognizing Greeble parts in a Transformed configuration was slower than in the Studied configuration, but only at upright. Thus, expertise with visually similar objects, not faces per se, may produce configural sensitivity.