Faces and objects of expertise compete for early perceptual processes and holistic processing resources (Gauthier, Curran, Curby, & Collins, 2003). Here, we examined the nature of interference on holistic face processing in working memory by comparing how various types of loads affect selective attention to parts of face composites. In dual tasks, all loads impaired overall performance on face judgment compared with no load. However, a face load reduced holistic face processing (Experiment 1) whereas an object load did not, regardless of expertise (Experiments 2 and 3). Also, 2 types of faces produced asymmetrical interference on each other (Experiment 4), refuting the hypothesis that any faces would produce equal interference. Thus, the interference on holistic face processing in working memory does not depend on overlap in expertise or face processing, but may be modulated by limitations in encoding or maintenance of highly similar representations.
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