A search advantage for faces learned in motion
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Recently there has been growing interest in the role that motion might play in the perception and representation of facial identity. Most studies have considered old/new recognition as a task. However, especially for non-rigid motion, these studies have often produced contradictory results. Here, we used a delayed visual search paradigm to explore how learning is affected by non-rigid facial motion. In the current studies we trained observers on two frontal view faces, one moving non-rigidly, the other a static picture. After a delay, observers were asked to identify the targets in static search arrays containing 2, 4 or 6 faces. On a given trial target and distractor faces could be shown in one of five viewpoints, frontal, 22° or 45° to the left or right. We found that familiarizing observers with dynamic faces led to a constant reaction time advantage across all setsizes and viewpoints compared to static familiarization. This suggests that non-rigid motion affects identity decisions even across extended periods of time and changes in viewpoint. Furthermore, it seems as if such effects may be difficult to observe using more traditional old/new recognition tasks.
KeywordsVisual Search Task Target Type Static Picture Target Face Search Slope
The authors would like to thank Martin Breidt and Mario Kleiner for helping to produce the stimuli used in these experiments. Thanks also to all of the actors who allowed us to videocapture their facial motions. We are also grateful to Quoc Vuong, Vicki Bruce and one anonymous reviewer for their valuable and thoughtful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
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