Getting to know you: How we learn new faces

Lesley Bonner*, A. M. Burton, V. Bruce

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Previous work has shown an advantage for matching the internal features of familiar faces in contrast to an advantage for the external features of unfamiliar faces. In the current experiment, we tracked this shift towards an internal feature advantage as subjects were familiarized with a set of initially unfamiliar faces. They were asked to learn a set of 24 faces from video images and complete a face matching task on 3 consecutive days. Half of the faces were learned from moving images while the others were learned from static images to determine whether movement was necessary to produce the internal advantage found when matching familiar faces. We found that by the end of the 3 days, performance on the internal features had improved and was equivalent to performance on the external features. In contrast, matching of the external features remained at a relatively constant level across the experiment. Faces were learned equally well from moving and static images suggesting that movement is not necessary to promote learning of the internal features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-536
Number of pages10
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


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