Face transformation in recollection and familiarity

Winnie CHAN, William HAYWARD, Sing-Hang CHEUNG

Research output: Journal PublicationsConference Abstractpeer-review


Three classical face recognition tasks (viewpoint, inversion, spatial frequency) were assessed using the remember/know procedure to examine how different transformations of the face influence recollection and familiarity in recognition memory. In the viewpoint task, participants studied front-view faces and were tested with front, three-quarter and profile views. Participants gave significantly higher remember responses to front view faces than three-quarter views, with profile views lower still. However, no difference in know responses among the three viewpoints was found. A viewpoint effect was observed in remember responses We then conducted the inversion task, in which participants studied both upright and inverted faces, and then were tested on each type. An inversion effect was observed with remember responses but not know responses. There was no difference in know responses between upright and inverted faces if participants studied upright faces. However, higher know responses were found for inverted faces than upright faces when participants studied inverted faces. These results indicate that feelings of familiarity can only be transferred from upright faces to inverted faces but not the other way round. The poor observed performance with inverted faces is indicative of a disruption of holistic processing. Therefore, in the final experiment we separated different spatial frequencies from faces to examine recollection and familiarity with low- and high-spatial frequency faces. Participants studied intact faces and were tested with intact, HSF and LSF faces. High numbers of remember responses were observed for intact faces only. No differences were found for either HSF and LSF. Based on the results of these three studies, recollection appears to be comparatively more sensitive to face transformation than familiarity. However, the extent to which configural processing is the basis for recollection is not yet clear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventThe 15th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society, 2015 - TradeWinds Island Resorts, St. Pete Beach, United States
Duration: 15 May 201520 May 2015


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