Bruce V, 1986, "Influences of familiarity on the processing of faces" Perception 15(4) 387 – 397
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Influences of familiarity on the processing of faces
Received 17 May 1986, in revised form 10 September 1986
Abstract. , Three experiments are reported in which undergraduate subjects made simple per-ceptual judgements about the faces of familiar and unfamiliar academic staff. Any effects of familiarity in these tasks were assessed by comparison with performance on the two groups of faces when both sets were unfamiliar to student subjects at a different university. In experi-ment 1 there was no effect of familiarity of the faces on a task requiring judgements of expression, consistent with recent models of face processing in which expression analysis proceeds independently from the analysis of identity. In experiment 2 there was a significant effect of familiarity on a task in which the sex of the faces was judged. This appeared to be due to familiarity acting to facilitate only those faces whose sex was difficult to judge from the picture presented. In experiment 3, significant effects of familiarity were also observed when the task was to distinguish intact faces from jumbled faces. Although the effects of familiarity in experiments 2 and 3 were small and emerged in interactions between item sets and university, they suggest that a simple perceptual hierarchy of the kind proposed by Ellis requires some revision.
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