December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Where did I see that face? Unfamiliar faces do not show spatial massive memory
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Farahnaz Wick
    BWH & Harvard Medical School
  • Wayni Lyu
    BWH & Harvard Medical School
  • Maruti Mishra
    University of Rochester & University of Richmond
  • Joseph DeGutis
    Harvard Medical School & VA Boston Healthcare system
  • Jeremy Wolfe
    BWH & Harvard Medical School
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This study was funded by the Minds, Brain and Behavior program, Harvard University.
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3606. doi:
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Farahnaz Wick, Wayni Lyu, Maruti Mishra, Joseph DeGutis, Jeremy Wolfe; Where did I see that face? Unfamiliar faces do not show spatial massive memory. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3606.

      Download citation file:

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

  • Supplements

Humans have the capacity to recognize the identity of thousands of faces (Jenkins, 2018), but do we remember where we saw a face? Recently, we have found that observers can remember the approximate location of >50 objects after viewing 300 objects (Wolfe & Lyu, VSS abstract). We call this “Spatial Massive Memory” (SMM). Here, we repeat the SMM experiment using unfamiliar human faces as stimuli. In the encoding phase, five upright full-color faces were placed randomly at different locations on a 7x7 grid, then each face was highlighted for 2 sec in random order (10 seconds total presentation time). This was followed by a test phase where, single faces were presented at a neutral location. Half were “old”. Observers (N=15) made 2AFC old/new responses about each face and clicked on the remembered location of any "old" face. Feedback was provided for each old/new response but not for location responses. This test sequence was repeated 40 times (200 faces), with new faces every time. At the end, observers were then retested for old/new discrimination and location using 400 faces: the 200 “old” faces and 200 completely “new” faces. Location was considered correct if it fell +/- 1 box from the true location. Guessing was corrected for by subtracting the number of "correct" localizations that could be obtained by random responses. The results show that observers were worse with faces than objects in old/new performance (d': 1.7 vs 2.7; localization: 1.9 vs 2.4 items/screen) in the test phase. On retest, both face and object old/new memory declined (d': 0.5 vs 1.5) while location memory was much worse for faces (10 total faces localized vs 57 objects). Thus, while observers show evidence that we are good at remembering the locations of many distinctive objects, memory for the locations of unfamiliar faces is poorer.


This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.