, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 1442-1456

Verbal facilitation of face recognition


We examined the effects of verbally describing a face on face memory, as assessed in anold/new recognition task. Experiment 1 established that describing faces facilitated their later recognition. In Experiment 2, we argue that verbalization facilitated the recognition of faces that had been previously described, but not of faces intermingled with the described faces. In Experiment 3, the participants described (or did not, in the control condition) either differences or similarities between pairs of faces. Verbal facilitation was equivalent for both types of descriptions. Finally, in Experiment 4, the participants were instructed to generate either holistic or featural descriptors. Verbal facilitation was equivalent for both types of descriptors. We discuss these findings in terms of the nature of the verbalization that benefits face recognition.

This research was supported by ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship T026-27-1240 to C.B. and ESRC Research Grant RES000-23-0057 to T.J.L.-J.