SATO Wataru Laboratory

Recognition memory for faces and scenes

(Sato & Yoshikawa: J Gen Psychol)

Previous studies have suggested that face memory is unique.
However, evidence is inconclusive.

To further explore this issue, we investigated recognition memory for previously unfamiliar faces and scenes.
Participants (n = 123) intentionally memorized the stimuli and then engaged in recognition tests.
Recognition was measured following short (20 minutes) and long (3 weeks) retention intervals.
Encoding strategies and intelligence were also measured.

Recognition memory performance for faces was higher than that for scenes at both short and long retention intervals; however, the effect of retention interval was different between faces and scenes.
A relationship between encoding strategies and memory performance was found for scenes but not for faces.
The relationship between intelligence and memory performance also differed between faces and scenes.

These results suggest that memory for faces is more robust and uses different cognitive mechanisms than does memory for scenes.

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