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Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2007 Oct;60(10):1446-56.

Hearing facial identities.

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  • 1University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.


While audiovisual integration is well known in speech perception, faces and speech are also informative with respect to speaker recognition. To date, audiovisual integration in the recognition of familiar people has never been demonstrated. Here we show systematic benefits and costs for the recognition of familiar voices when these are combined with time-synchronized articulating faces, of corresponding or noncorresponding speaker identity, respectively. While these effects were strong for familiar voices, they were smaller or nonsignificant for unfamiliar voices, suggesting that the effects depend on the previous creation of a multimodal representation of a person's identity. Moreover, the effects were reduced or eliminated when voices were combined with the same faces presented as static pictures, demonstrating that the effects do not simply reflect the use of facial identity as a "cue" for voice recognition. This is the first direct evidence for audiovisual integration in person recognition.

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