Individual differences in adaptive norm-based coding and holistic coding are associated yet each contributes uniquely to unfamiliar face recognition ability

Laura M. Engfors*, Linda Jeffery, Gilles E. Gignac, Romina Palermo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We can discriminate and recognize many faces, despite their visual similarity. Individual differences in this ability have been linked to 2 face coding mechanisms: adaptive norm-based coding of identity and holistic coding. However, it is not yet known whether these mechanisms are distinct. Nor is it known whether they make unique contributions to face recognition ability because no studies have measured the operation of both these mechanisms in the same individuals. We measured individual differences in both the strength of adaptive norm-based coding (with a face identity aftereffect task) and holistic coding (with a composite face task). For the first time, we show that these 2 mechanisms are positively and moderately associated and that each makes significant unique contributions to unfamiliar face recognition ability (Cambridge Face Memory Test [CMFT]). Importantly, these relationships were face-specific. We also show that the combined contribution of these mechanisms to face recognition performance is significantly larger than the contribution of nonface recognition memory, consistent with the view that face recognition relies on the operation of face-sensitive mechanisms. Overall, our results raise intriguing questions regarding what these mechanisms may have in common, and what other mechanisms support face recognition performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • face perception
  • composite effect
  • face identity aftereffects
  • mechanisms
  • face recognition ability

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