MacKenzie G & Donaldson D (2016) Elements of person knowledge: Episodic recollection helps us to identify people but not to recognize their faces. Neuropsychologia, 93 (Part A), pp. 218-228. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.11.001
Faces automatically draw attention, allowing rapid assessments of personality and likely behaviour. How we respond to people is, however, highly dependent on whether we know who they are. According to face processing models person knowledge comes from an extended neural system that includes structures linked to episodic memory. Here we use scalp recorded brain signals to demonstrate the specific role of episodic memory processes during face processing. In two experiments we recorded Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) while participants made identify, familiar or unknown responses to famous faces. ERPs revealed neural signals previously associated with episodic recollection for identify but not familiar faces. These findings provide novel evidence suggesting that recollection is central to face processing, providing one source of person knowledge that can be used to moderate the initial impressions gleaned from the core neural system that supports face recognition.
Person identification; face recognition; episodic memory; recollection
Neuropsychologia: Volume 93, Issue Part A