Diamond, R. & Carey, S. (1986). Why faces are and are not special: An effect of expertise. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 115(2), 107-117.
Recognition memory for faces is hampered much more by inverted presentation than is memory for any other material so far examined. The present study demonstrates that faces are not unique with regard to this vulnerability to inversion. The experiments also attempt to isolate the source of the inversion effect. In one experiment, use of stimuli (landscapes) in which spatial relations among elements are potentially important distinguishing features is shown not to guarantee a large inversion effect. Two additional experiments show that for dog experts sufficiently knowledgeable to individuate dogs of the same breed, memory for photographs of dogs of that breed is a disrupted by inversion as is face recognition. A final experiment indicates that the effect of orientation on memory for faces does not depend on inability to identify single features of these stimuli upside down. These experiments are consistent with the view that experts represent items in memory in terms of distinguishing features of a different kind than do novices. Speculations as to the type of feature used and neuropsychological and developmental implications of this accomplishment are offered.