Repeated Repetition Priming in Face Recognition

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Prior exposure to an item can facilitate subsequent recognition of that item. This effect, known as repetition priming, has been found for the recognition of many stimuli including faces (Bruce & Young, 1986). Three experiments are reported, which investigated whether repetition priming is limited to the first repetition or whether subsequent repetitions continually act to increase the speed of face processing. Experiment 1 demonstrated that repetition can reduce categorization time for faces after the first exposure, and this effect is independent of practice effects. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the relationship between reaction time and number of repetitions fits a negative power function. Experiment 3 investigated how delay affects this power function. Delay was found to decrease the negative gradient of the power curve. The effects of priming and delay are discussed in terms of the predictions made by Burton's (1994) interactive activation and competition with learning (IACL) model of face recognition and accounts of automaticity.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 1999

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