Skip to main content

Is Face Recognition Biased by Unintentional Recognition of Distracting Information?

Gupta, Sapna K. (2021) Is Face Recognition Biased by Unintentional Recognition of Distracting Information? Master of Research (MRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87367) (KAR id:87367)

Language: English

Download (1MB) Preview
[thumbnail of 156SKG28_-_Masters_by_Research_Thesis_-_19909805_-_Post_Corrections_Final_.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


Research highlights that we are not as skilful in controlling our memory as we may believe. Instead, our everyday intentional recognition judgments are often biased by what we unintentionally recognise in the same context. So far, it has been demonstrated that the unintentional recognition of image distractors can bias the intentional recognition of word targets, in the form of a familiarity (old/new) congruency bias. This bias reflects improved recognition performance for targets when the distractor/context upon which it is present at test is of the same memory status (also old or new). However, this effect has not yet been explored using face stimuli, despite faces varying in pre-existing familiarity and often being encountered in different familiar or unfamiliar contexts in everyday life. Furthermore, the distractor stimuli used in past literature have often been limited to simple drawings. Past designs have also typically relied on the use of working memory load or divided-attention tasks, or healthy aging to magnify distractibility, which is arguably not ecological valid nor generalisable. Consequently, this research investigated whether distractor-induced congruency biases found for words also apply to faces, using a new database of up-to-date face stimuli and without secondary manipulations of distractibility. I also attempted to replicate these results in an alternative sample and compared effects between target types (words vs faces). Results show novel evidence for the idea that faces are also biased by distracting stimuli in the same manner that has been found in relation to words. In turn, providing evidence for specific cognitive theories (e.g. Perceptual load theory) while questioning others (face processing modularity). Lastly, the study also provides future direction for neurocognitive research to answer questions regarding the underlying mechanisms of distractor bias, based on past research findings of dissociating event-related potentials (ERPs) in relation to unintentional and intentional recognition.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Research (MRes))
Thesis advisor: Bergström, Zara
Thesis advisor: Bindemann, Markus
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.87367
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 06:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):