Familiarity of faces: Sense or feeling? An exploratory investigation with eye movements and skin conductance

Paola Bonifacci, Lorenzo Desideri, Cristina Ottaviani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Where does the experience of familiarity come from? Is it the same as sensory perception? Two novel approaches were combined to investigate the highly adaptive process of familiar face recognition: the inclusion of friends and family members as personally familiar faces and measures of eye movements and skin conductance responses (SCR). A sample of 16 university students was asked to look at photographs of 8 personally familiar faces (friends and relatives) and 8 unfamiliar faces. From the analysis of eye movement patterns, a preference for internal features (mouth, eyes, nose) for both familiar and unfamiliar faces emerged and a significant increase in electrodermal activity was found for personally familiar compared to unfamiliar faces. Higher SCR recovery values were found in response to friends. Findings from this exploratory investigation suggest that familiar faces are not looked at in a special way; instead we ‘‘feel’’ a sense of familiarity that comes and goes faster for relatives than for close friends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychophysiology
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Eye Movements
Emotions
Skin
Nose
Mouth
Recognition (Psychology)
Students

Keywords

  • Eye movements
  • Face perception
  • Facial features
  • Familiarity
  • Skin conductance responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology

Cite this

Familiarity of faces : Sense or feeling? An exploratory investigation with eye movements and skin conductance. / Bonifacci, Paola; Desideri, Lorenzo; Ottaviani, Cristina.

In: Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2015, p. 20-25.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bonifacci, Paola ; Desideri, Lorenzo ; Ottaviani, Cristina. / Familiarity of faces : Sense or feeling? An exploratory investigation with eye movements and skin conductance. In: Journal of Psychophysiology. 2015 ; Vol. 29, No. 1. pp. 20-25.
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