Familiarity does not inhibit image-specific encoding of faces

Dunn, James D. and Ritchie, Kay L. and Kemp, Richard I. and White, David (2019) Familiarity does not inhibit image-specific encoding of faces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Percpetion and Performance, 45 (7). pp. 841-854. ISSN 0096-1523

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000625

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Familiarity does not inhibit image-specific encoding of faces
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Abstract

When matching and recognising familiar faces, performance is unaffected by changes to image-specific details such as lighting, head angle, and expression. In contrast, these changes have a substantial impact on performance when faces are unfamiliar. What process can account for this difference? Recent evidence shows a memory disadvantage for remembering specific images of familiar people compared to unfamiliar people, suggesting that image invariance in familiar face processing may be supported by loss of image-specific details in memory. Here, we examine whether this cost results from loss of image specific details during encoding of familiar faces. Participants completed four tasks that required participants to retain image-specific information in working memory: duplicate detection (Experiment 1), change detection (Experiment 2), short-term recognition memory (Experiment 3 & 5), and visual search (Experiment 4). Across all experiments (combined n = 270), our results consistently show equivalent memory performance for specific images of familiar and unfamiliar faces. We conclude that familiarity does not influence encoding of pictorial details, suggesting that loss of image-specificity reported in previous work is a result of longer-term storage mechanisms.

Keywords:face recognition, Face Perception, representation, predictive coding, visual working memory
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:34899
Deposited On:05 Mar 2019 16:49

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