Evidence for a Face-Name Relationship

by Lea, Melissa Ann

Abstract (Summary)
The present research investigates the relationship between facial features and a person’s name. The stimuli for the present studies were generated by first having a set of participants create exemplar faces for a name. This was followed by another set of participants determining which of the exemplar faces were the most typical for the name category. Finally, those faces deemed as the most typical for the name category were morphed to create face-name prototypes. In Experiment 1, these face-name prototypes were used in a matching task in which participants were asked to match one name to each of these face-name prototypes. It is shown that participants are consistent at naming the name-prototypes based solely on the facial features. Experiment 2 utilized these same prototypes in a learning task and assigned names to the faces based on the frequency of naming from Experiment 1. Face-name pairs that were frequently matched in Experiment 1 were considered high Association Strength (AS) pairs and those pairings that were less frequently were considered low AS pairs. In this task, the participants were asked to learn face-name associations as quickly as possible. It was shown that participants learned face-name pairings that have a high AS faster than those whose pairings had a low AS. Taken together, these results suggest there is a more direct relationship between facial features and names than has been previously proposed (e.g., Bruce & Young, 1986; Valentine, 1991). Possible explanations for this effect are discussed.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:faces personal names


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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