I Recognise You but I Can't Place You: An Investigation of Familiar-only Experiences during Tests of Voice and Face Recognition
Abstract:In this paper, we examine in detail the situation in which a subject finds that a face or voice is familiar but is unable to retrieve any biographical information about the person concerned. In two experiments, subjects were asked to identify a set of 40 celebrities either from hearing their voice or from seeing their face. Although many more celebrities were identified and named in response to their face than their voice, the results showed that there was a very large number of occasions when a celebrity's voice was felt to be familiar but the subject was unable to retrieve any biographical information about the person. This situation occurred less frequently in response to seeing a celebrity's face; when a face was found familiar, the subject was much more likely to be able to recall the celebrity's occupation. The possibility that these results might have come about because subjects were using different criteria to determine familiarity in the face and voice conditions was investigated and discounted. An additional finding was that when subjects found a face to be familiar-only, they were able to recall significantly more additional information about the person when they were cued by the person's voice than when they simply saw the face again. These results are discussed in relation to the models of person recognition put forward by Bruce and Y oung (1986) and Burton, Bruce, and Johnston (1990).
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: February 1, 1998