Independent influences of verbalization and race on the configural and featural processing of faces: A behavioral and eye movement study

Kazuyo Nakabayashi, Toby J. Lloyd-Jones, Natalie Butcher, Chang Hong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Describing a face in words can either hinder or help subsequent face recognition. Here, the authors examined the relationship between the benefit from verbally describing a series of faces and the same-race advantage (SRA) whereby people are better at recognizing unfamiliar faces from their own race as compared with those from other races. Verbalization and the SRA influenced face recognition independently, as evident on both behavioral (Experiment 1) and eye movement measures (Experiment 2). The findings indicate that verbalization and the SRA each recruit different types of configural processing, with verbalization modulating face learning and the SRA modulating both face learning and recognition. Eye movement patterns demonstrated greater feature sampling for describing as compared with not describing faces and for other-race as compared with same-race faces. In both cases, sampling of the eyes, nose, and mouth played a major role in performance. The findings support a single process account whereby verbalization can influence perceptual processing in a flexible and yet fundamental way through shifting one's processing orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-77
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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