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Evidence for view-invariant face recognition units in unfamiliar face learning

Etchells, David B.; Brooks, Joseph L.; Johnston, Robert A.

Evidence for view-invariant face recognition units in unfamiliar face learning Thumbnail


David B. Etchells

Robert A. Johnston


Many models of face recognition incorporate the idea of a face recognition unit (FRU), an abstracted representation formed from each experience of a face which aids recognition under novel viewing conditions. Some previous studies have failed to find evidence of this FRU representation. Here, we report three experiments which investigated this theoretical construct by modifying the face learning procedure from that in previous work. During learning, one or two views of previously unfamiliar faces were shown to participants in a serial matching task. Later, participants attempted to recognize both seen and novel views of the learned faces (recognition phase). Experiment 1 tested participants’ recognition of a novel view, a day after learning. Experiment 2 was identical, but tested participants on the same day as learning. Experiment 3 repeated Experiment 1, but tested participants on a novel view that was outside the rotation of those views learned. Results revealed a significant advantage, across all experiments, for recognizing a novel view when two views had been learned compared to single view learning. The observed view invariance supports the notion that an FRU representation is established during multi-view face learning under particular learning conditions.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2016
Publication Date May 4, 2017
Journal Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Print ISSN 1747-0218
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 70
Issue 5
Pages 874 -889
Keywords face learning, face recognition, face recognition unit, pictorial and structural encoding, view invariance
Publisher URL


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