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Are Faces "Special" Objects? Associative and Semantic Priming of Face and Object Recognition and Naming

Barry, C and Johnston, RA and Scanlan, LC (1998) 'Are Faces "Special" Objects? Associative and Semantic Priming of Face and Object Recognition and Naming.' Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A: Human Experimental Psychology, 51 (4). 853 - 882. ISSN 0272-4987

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Abstract

Faces represent a "special" class of physically similar stimuli but it remains uncertain whether they are processed by cognitive systems that are functionally separate from those used for objects. This paper reports two experiments, which examine whether there exist qualitative differences in the semantic and associative priming of faces, "structurally similar" objects (living things), and "structurally distinct" objects (artefacts). Recognition was examined in Experiment 1 using the familiarity judgement task for faces and the object decision task for objects, and naming was examined in Experiment 2. Both experiments compared, within subjects, priming by associates (e.g. Eric Morecambe → Ernie Wise, lion → tiger and lock → key) and priming by non-associates from the same semantic category (e.g. Keith Richards → Paul McCartney, bee →spider and nail-file →comb) against both "neutral" and unrelated prime conditions. Both experiments produced a remarkably similar pattern of results. For faces, there was a substantial priming effect from associates but no reliable priming from non-associates of the same semantic category. In contrast, both structurally similar and distinct objects were primed reliably by both associates and semantically (i.e. categorically) related non-associates. The results are interpreted within a model that proposes that the semantic representations of objects are inter-connected by abstracted superordinate categories, but that the representations of people (the elements of which, we propose, are specific biographical descriptive information units) are inter-connected by networks of inter-personal relatedness rather than by "categories" of celebrity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2015 22:26
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:41
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/12422

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