they’re quite difficult to [process]

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NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Do they refer to "three-dimensional objects, and faces"?

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The experiments were intended to probe how fish perceive three-dimensional objects, and faces are particularly interesting examples. “They’re complicated, they’re quite difficult to [process] even for computers and people—and when you rotate them, they change in a really interesting way,” Newport says.

Source: Scientific American
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    No, it refers only to faces.

    The previous sentence in the article confirms it.
    "Now, in a study described last November in Animal Behaviour, they have demonstrated that the fish can recognize the same face turned to the side by 30, 60 and 90 degrees—a nontrivial task."
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, it refers only to faces.
    The previous sentence in the article confirms it.
    I agree. The following sentence confirms it too, because it talks about face recognition.

    The part you have underlined below does not form a single unit that functions as object to what comes before it and simultaneously as subject to what comes after it:
    The experiments were intended to probe how fish perceive three-dimensional objects, and faces are particularly interesting examples.
    The sentence really consists of two semi-independent sentences joined together with a comma and "and":
    The experiments were intended to probe how fish perceive three-dimensional objects. Faces are particularly interesting examples.
    The experiments were intended to probe how fish perceive three-dimensional objects, and faces are particularly interesting examples.

    Your red "they" refers to the subject of the second (blue) part.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It goes from general (3D objects) to specific (faces). It says faces are particularly interesting. That sentence really can't stand alone. It needs (logically) an explanation of what is particularly interesting about them. The explanation follows immediately. "They're complicated..."

    That's a standard pattern of writing.
     
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