Unfamiliar face matching ability predicts the slope of face learning.
Journal titleScientific reports
Publication Begin page5248
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractWe provide the first examination of individual differences in the efficiency of face learning. Investigating individual differences in face learning can illuminate potential mechanisms and provide greater understanding of why certain individuals might be more efficient face learners. Participants completed two unfamiliar face matching tasks and a learning task in which learning was assessed after viewing 1, 3, 6, and 9 images of to-be-learned identities. Individual differences in the slope of face learning (i.e., increases in sensitivity to identity) were predicted by the ability to discriminate between matched (same-identity) vs. mismatched (different-identity) pairs of wholly unfamiliar faces. A Dual Process Signal Detection model showed that three parameters increased with learning: Familiarity (an unconscious type of memory that varies in strength), recollection-old (conscious recognition of a learned identity), and recollection-new (conscious/confident rejection of novel identities). Good (vs. poor) matchers had higher Recollection-Old scores throughout learning and showed a steeper increase in Recollection-New. We conclude that good matchers are better able to capitalize on exposure to within-person variability in appearance, an effect that is attributable to their conscious memory for both learned and novel faces. These results have applied implications and will inform contemporary and traditional models of face identification.
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