Dissociating perceptual and representation-based contributions to priming of face recognition

Stephan G. Boehm*, Ellen C. Klostermann, Werner Sommer, Ken A. Paller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Repetition priming of object identification refers to the phenomenon whereby experience with an object induces systematic changes in subsequent processing of that same object. This data-driven form of priming is distinct from conceptually-driven priming. To date, considerable controversy exists about whether data-driven priming reflects facilitation in perceptual processing or mediation by preexisting object representations. The present study concerned priming of recognizing familiar and unfamiliar faces and how this priming is influenced by face inversion, which interferes with perceptual face processing. Perceptual and representation-based loci conjointly contributed to priming; the perceptual locus was operative similarly for familiar and unfamiliar faces, whereas the representation-based locus was only invoked for familiar faces and resulted in a response-time reduction triple the magnitude of that from the perceptual locus. The results constrain theoretical accounts of data-driven priming by indicating that improved identification can result from the combination of perceptual and representation-based facilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Face priming
  • Face recognition
  • Familiar faces
  • Implicit memory
  • Memory systems
  • Priming
  • Priming accounts
  • Stimulus identification
  • Unfamiliar faces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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