July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
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Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Perceptual Attention to Features versus Traits May Affect How Faces Are Represented in Memory
Author Affiliations
  • Dawn Weatherford
    Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • James Bartlett
    University of Texas at Dallas
  • Curt Carlson
    Texas A&M University-Commerce
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 981. doi:10.1167/13.9.981
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      Dawn Weatherford, James Bartlett, Curt Carlson; Perceptual Attention to Features versus Traits May Affect How Faces Are Represented in Memory. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):981. doi: 10.1167/13.9.981.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Describing a face can benefit its subsequent recognition, but this "verbal facilitation effect" is not fully understood. The current experiment compared the effects of describing faces in terms of their features versus personality traits. Each participant viewed a single block of faces in one of three conditions: (a) half of the faces followed by a cue to verbalize features, and half by a cue to count backwards by 3’s, (b) half of the faces followed by a cue to verbalize traits, and half by a cue to count backwards by 3’s, (c) all faces followed by backward counting. In both description conditions, participants did not know which of the two tasks would be performed until after each face was removed from the screen. Describing features or traits resulted in equivalent verbal facilitation. However, faces followed by counting were recognized better in the feature condition than in the only-counting conditions. Faces followed by counting in the trait condition, on the other hand, were not recognized better than in the only-counting condition. This pattern suggests that preparing to produce a featural description facilitates subsequent recognition of a face, even when the description is not overtly produced. Perceptual attention to features versus traits may affect how faces are represented in memory.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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