July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
The fate of holistic face representations in long-term memory
Author Affiliations
  • Bonnie Heptonstall
    Department of Psychology, University of Victoria
  • James Tanaka
    Department of Psychology, University of Victoria
  • Michael Hoven
    Maastricht University
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 102. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.102
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      Bonnie Heptonstall, James Tanaka, Michael Hoven; The fate of holistic face representations in long-term memory. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):102. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.102.

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

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Although evidence for holistic face processing has been well established in perceptual and immediate memory paradigms, less is known about the time course of holistic representations over longer retention intervals. In the current study, we examined the fate of holistic face memories in long term memory. In the learning phase of the experiment, participants were trained to identify 12 novel faces (six male, six female) by name (e.g., "Joe") to a criterion of 100 percent accuracy. Next, memory for the eyes, nose and mouth parts of the faces was assessed using a part-whole recognition task. In this task, participants were asked to discriminate a given target face part (e.g., Joe’s nose) from its foil presented in isolation and in the whole face. Part-whole recognition was tested for upright and inverted faces either immediately (Time 1 group), seven days (Time 2 group), or 14 days (Time 3 group) after training. The main finding was that the Time 1, 2 and 3 groups demonstrated a significant whole face advantage for parts in upright faces. The pattern of holistic recognition differed for the eyes, nose and mouth parts. Whereas the nose and mouth parts showed a strong whole face advantage at all three time intervals, the eyes demonstrated a whole face advantage only at the Time 3 test. In contrast to upright faces, recognition of parts in inverted faces showed no whole face advantage at any of the three time intervals. In summary, these results provide strong evidence that recently familiarized faces are retained in long-term memory as holistic representations.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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