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The effects of distinctiveness on memory and metamemory for face–name associations

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We examined the influence of face and name distinctiveness on memory and metamemory for face–name associations. Four types of monitoring judgements were solicited during encoding and retrieval of face–name pairs that contained distinct or typical faces (Experiment 1) or names (Experiment 2). The beneficial effects of distinctiveness on associative memory were symmetrical between faces and names, such that relative to their typical counterparts, distinct faces enhanced memory for names, and distinct names enhanced memory for faces. These effects were also apparent in metamemory. Estimates of prospective and retrospective memory performance were greater for face–name associations that contained a distinct face or name compared with a typical face or name, regardless of whether the distinct item was a cue or target. Moreover, the predictive validity of prospective monitoring improved with name distinctiveness, whereas the predictive validity of retrospective monitoring improved with facial distinctiveness. Our results indicate that distinctiveness affects not only the strength of the association between a face and a name, but also the ability to monitor that association.
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Keywords: Distinctiveness; Face identification; Metacognition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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