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University of Stirling

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Project

Augmented Reality: A Step Change in Memory for Faces

Funded by The Carnegie Trust.

The ability to remember an unfamiliar face after an initial exposure allows us to form friendships, decide who is trustworthy, and recognise those who may be dangerous. Despite the importance of remembering unfamiliar faces, much of our understanding of face recognition originates from restrictive laboratory-based studies that do not necessarily reflect how memory operates in every-day environments. Here, we will employ new technological advances in augmented reality to investigate unfamiliar face recognition using a task that more closely reflects the real life experience of meeting and recognising new people in familiar environments. By using the Microsoft Hololens (an augmented reality headset), we will walk participants around a specified number of distinct locations around the University campus and project within each environment different life sized 3D models of real individuals. After a short break, we will walk participants back to the same locations and ask them to decide if the model shown was the same as before (i.e., an ‘old’ response) or someone new (i.e., a ‘new’ response). Results from the augmented reality study will be statistically compared to a control condition whereby the same models and locations will be shown on a computer instead of taking participants to real locations. We predict that the additional sensory information encoded by being physically present within a real location will result in a significant memory advantage in the augmented reality condition compared to the standard laboratory condition. A positive result would suggest that standard laboratory settings may be underestimating the true accuracy of unfamiliar face recognition, with potential implications for those interested in security such as UK border control, immigration or the Police. More generally, the project demonstrates a proof of concept for employing augmented reality to investigate cognition in the real world.

Total award value £8,760.38

People

Dr Jamie Murray
Dr Jamie Murray

Lecturer, Psychology

Professor David Donaldson
Professor David Donaldson

Professor, Psychology

Dr Anna Bobak
Dr Anna Bobak

Research Assistant, Psychology

Professor Peter Hancock
Professor Peter Hancock

Professor, Psychology

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