The role of motion in learning new faces
Four experiments are reported that investigate the usefulness of rigid (head nodding, shaking) and nonrigid (talking, expressions) motion for establishing new face representations of previously unfamiliar faces. Results show that viewing a face in motion leads to more accurate face learning, compared with viewing a single static image (Experiment 1). The advantage for viewing the face moving rigidly seems to be due to the different angles of view contained in these sequences (Experiment 2). However, the advantage for nonrigid motion is not simply due to multiple images (Experiment 3) and is not specifically linked to forwards motion but extends to reversed sequences (Experiment 4). Thus, although we have demonstrated beneficial effects of motion for face learning, they do not seem to be due to the specific dynamic properties of the sequences shown. Instead, the advantage for nonrigid motion may reflect increased attention to faces moving in a socially important manner.
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