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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1999 Aug;25(4):1016-35.

Robust representations for faces: evidence from visual search.

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Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


We report evidence from visual search that people can develop robust representations for highly overlearned faces. When observers searched for their own face versus the face of an unfamiliar observer, search slopes and intercepts revealed consistently faster processing of self than stranger. These processing advantages persisted even after hundreds of presentations of the unfamiliar face and even for atypical profile and upside-down views. Observers not only showed rapid asymptotic recognition of their own face as the target, but could reject their own face more quickly as the distractor. These findings suggest that robust representations for a highly overlearned face may (a) mediate rapid asymptotic visual processing, (b) require extensive experience to develop, (c) contain abstract or view-invariant information, (d) facilitate a variety of processes such as target recognition and distractor rejection, and (e) demand less attentional resources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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