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Observers indicated whether a single probe face presented to the left or right visual field was contained in a positive set of five male faces. In one task the distractor (i.e., negative) stimuli were also male faces, and in another task the distractor stimuli were female faces. For both tasks, reducing stimulus duration from 200 msec to 20 msec increased the percentage of errors, but for neither the percentage of errors nor the reaction time was there any stimulus duration × visual field interaction. In conjunction with earlier experiments using these same tasks, the results indicate that reducing stimulus duration does not have the same effect on visual laterality as does imposing a visual noise mask. These results pose problems for models predicting that a reduction in stimulus perceptibility per se produces a change in hemispheric asymmetry for face processing.

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Hellige, J.B., Jonsson, J.E. Effects of stimulus duration on processing lateralized faces. Bull. Psychon. Soc.23, 401–403 (1985).

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