Scientific Research

Why would you save other details?

  • I recognize your face but I can't remember your name: A simple explanation?


    When shown the faces of familiar people, subjects are typically slower and less accurate at retrieving names than other semantic information. This finding, along with converging evidence from neuropsychological studies, has influenced most theoretical accounts of face recognition (e.g. Bruce & Young, 1986). These accounts propose that names are stored separately from semantic information, and that they may not be retrieved in the absence of other information. Here we show that it is possible to account for empirical findings without positing a separate store for names. The account is based on an implemented simulation with an interactive activation and competition architecture. We demonstrate that the fact that most names are unique leads naturally to the patterns of recall found in experimental studies.

    Burton, A. Mike, and Vicki Bruce. "I recognize your face but I can't remember your name: A simple explanation?." British Journal of Psychology 83.1 (1992): 45-60.

    link to published paper
  • I recognize your face but I can't remember your name: Further evidence on the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon

    Fifty faces of famous persons were used as stimuli to precipitate the tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) experience. Results showed that Ss in TOT states searched for target's name by locating first his profession, where he was most often seen, and how recently. Ss also had accurate knowledge of the initial letters of target names, initial letters of similar sounding names, and numbers of syllables in target names. It was concluded that TOT states for to-be-remembered names are retrieved from semantic and episodie memory systems on the basis of verbal and imaginal encodings.

    link to published paper

Why use Mnemonics?

  • Spontaneous mnemonic strategies used by older and younger adults to remember proper names

    Little attention has been focused on the spontaneous mnemonic strategies that people use to remember proper names. In the experiment reported here, groups of younger (< 25 years old) and older subjects (>=55 years old) were shown a series of 12 name-face pairs and instructed to remember them. In a subsequent test, they were shown the same faces and asked to recall the corresponding names. After the recall task, subjects completed a questionnaire about the mnemonic strategies they used. Our analyses revealed not only that the younger subjects recalled more names than did the older subjects, but also that older and younger subjects reported using certain strategies more frequently than other strategies. Moreover, regression analyses indicated that use of certain mnemonic strategies accounted for a significant proportion of recall performance beyond that accounted for by age alone. Older-old subjects (>= 70 years old) recalled fewer names than did younger-old subjects (>= 55 and < 70 years old), but they did not differ in the extent to which they used specific mnemonic strategies. Our results suggest that the use of spontaneous mnemonic strategies may play a role in the difference in proper name recall between younger and older adults.

    link to published paper
  • An imagery mnemonic for the learning of people's names

    Since the failure to remember the name of a person to whom one has been introduced can be embarrassing, methods of improving the recall of names to faces are desirable. As a means of learning names Lorayne (1958) suggests a mnemonic technique the effectiveness of which was tested in the present experiment. Lorayne's method involves first converting the name to be retained into an easily imaged form. For example, Fishter can be made into fish stir and be imaged as a fish stirring and Gorden can become garden. The next step involves choosing a prominent feature of the person's face, and linking the image of the name to it. Thus, if Mr Gorden has a large nose an image could be formed of a garden growing over his nose. When recall of the name is required the face should recall the image, the image cue the substitute form of the name, and this, in turn leads to a recall of the appropriate name. Lorayne maintains that his mnemonic system enables him to perform impressive stage demonstrations of memory for names. For example, he reports being able to name almost 400 people in 7 min (Lorayne & Lucas, 1976, p. 77). The method may seem bizarre, but it incorporates mnemonic techniques which have been shown experimentally to be powerful aids to memory in verbal learning experiments (e.g. Bower, 1970; Morris & Stevens, 1974).

    link to published paper

  • Face Recognition and Name Recall Training Implications for the Hospitality Industry

    Hospitality corporations continually seek to implement strategies that enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. One potential strategy that contributes to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty is training both associates and managers in techniques to recognize guests' faces and names. Psychological research has shown how face recognition and name recall can be applied in hospitality situations, in particular to create pseudorelationships with guests and to convert those to genuine relationships with loyal customers. Training employees and managers in mnemonic techniques for name recollection will almost certainly be a wise investment in creating satisfied guests.

    link to published paper

Why Quiz?

  • Application of the testing and spacing effects to name learning

    Four experiments investigated the effects of testing and spacing on the learning of face-name stimulus-response pairs. Experiments 1a and 1b compared the recall of names following intervening tests versus additional study opportunities and found that testing produced better retention of names. Experiments 2 and 3 explored the effects of repeated tests versus study for massed, uniform, or expanded spacing intervals. Tested names were better retained than studied names, spaced names were better retained than massed names, and memory was best for items tested at spaced intervals. Contrary to past findings, expanded schedules did not yield better memory than uniform schedules in either experiment. Theoretical implications for the testing and spacing effects are discussed, along with effective name-learning techniques based on these principles.

    link to published paper

  • Remediation of memory disorders: Experimental evaluation of the Spaced-Retrieval technique

    Research concerning remediation of memory disorders has frequently been concerned with mnemonic techniques that demand a great deal of elaborative and effortful processing. The present study examines a relatively simple technique, known as spaced retrieval, in which patients are taught to retrieve information at increasingly long temporal intervals after initial presentation. Results indicated that the spaced-retrieval technique aided patients' learning of new information. There was also evidence of learning to learn: Two of the four patients who were studied learned to use the technique in the absence of explicit cues from the experimenter. Issues pertaining to the possible usefulness of spaced retrieval in everyday life are discussed.

    link to published paper