Current Psychology

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 88–97 | Cite as

The emotional impact of faces (but not names): Face specific changes in skin conductance responses to familiar and unfamiliar people

  • Hadyn D. Ellis
  • Angela H. Quayle
  • Andrew W. Young


Skin Conductance Responses (SCRs) to familiar and unfamiliar names and faces were recorded from independent groups of subjects, using two different presentation designs: the first employing fewer familiar than unfamiliar items (Tranel, Fowles, and Damasio, 1985) and the second employing equal numbers of familiar and unfamiliar items. In both designs, familiar faces were responded to significantly more strongly than unfamiliar faces, whereas for names there was no difference in responses to familiar and unfamiliar stimuli. Faces produced significantly larger overall SCRs than names in the unequal familiar/unfamiliar ratio design, but this effect was not observed in the equal ratio design. The results are discussed with particular reference to those previously published by Tranel et al. (1985) and in relation to work both on covert recognition in prosopagnosia and on one of the delusional misidentification syndromes known as the Capgras delusion.


Face Recognition Current Psychology Skin Conductance Response Familiar Stimulus Latency Window 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hadyn D. Ellis
    • 1
  • Angela H. Quayle
    • 1
  • Andrew W. Young
    • 2
  1. 1.Cardiff UniversityUSA
  2. 2.York UniversityUSA

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