Unfamiliar faces are not faces: Evidence from a matching task

Ahmed M. Megreya, A. Mike Burton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

297 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is difficult to match two images of the same unfamiliar face, even under good conditions. Here, we show that there are large individual differences on unfamiliar face matching. Initially, we tried to predict these using tests of visual short-term memory, cognitive style, and perceptual speed. Moderate correlations were produced by various components of these tests. In three other experiments, we found very strong correlations between face matching and inverted face matching on the same test Finally, we examined potential associations between familiar and unfamiliar face processing. Strong correlations were found between familiar and unfamiliar face processing, but only when the familiar faces were inverted. We conclude that unfamiliar faces are processed for identity in a qualitatively different way than are familiar faces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-876
Number of pages12
JournalMemory and Cognition
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

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