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Encoding Activity and Face Recognition

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A series of studies conducted over the past 20 years have explored the effects of various tasks on recognition memory for faces. Memory for faces appears better when the study task involves judgements about an abstract trait rather than a physical feature. The various situations in which these results were obtained raise important methodological questions regarding the learning conditions, whether incidental or intentional, and the duration of exposure to the stimulus during the study phase. We consider here two alternative explanations for the reported results. One concerns depth of processing and the other the opposition between component and holistic processing. Possible strategies for improving face recognition performance are considered.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 1997

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