Independent contribution of perceptual experience and social cognition to face recognition

Linoy Schwartz*, Galit Yovel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Faces convey rich perceptual and social information. The contribution of perceptual and social information to face recognition has been typically examined in separate experiments. Here, we take a comprehensive approach by studying the contributions of both perceptual experience and social-conceptual information to face learning within the same experimental design. The effect of perceptual experience was examined by systematically varying the similarity between the learned and test face views. Social information was manipulated by asking participants to make social, perceptual, or no evaluations on faces during learning. Results show better recognition for the learned views, which declines as a function of the dissimilarity between the learned and unlearned views. Additionally, processing faces as social concepts produced a general gain in performance of a similar magnitude for both the learned and unlearned views. We concluded that both social-conceptual and perceptual information contribute to face recognition but through complementary, independent mechanisms. These findings highlight the importance of considering both cognition and perception to obtain comprehensive understanding of face recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Face recognition
  • Learning
  • Perceptual experience
  • Social cognition


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