Priming of face matching in amnesia

Ken A. Paller*, Andrew R. Mayes, Katherine M. Thompson, Andrew W. Young, Juliet Roberts, Peter R. Meudell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Priming was studied in a task that required a speeded response to photographs of faces. On each trial, subjects viewed two faces and decided if the same person was shown twice or if two different people were shown. Both familiar and unfamiliar (i.e., well-known and unknown) faces were used, and some face pairs were repeated with a mean delay of about 10 min. Repetition was associated with faster reaction times in young subjects (Experiment 1) as well as in amnesic patients and age-matched control subjects (Experiment 2). The patients' reaction times were slower overall, although the magnitude of the priming effect did not differ from that in the control subjects. This preservation of a normal reaction-time facilitation in subjects with impaired recognition memory for faces occurred for both familiar and unfamiliar faces, suggesting that amnesia does not necessarily interfere with the acquisition of new information as indexed by this priming effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-59
Number of pages14
JournalBrain and cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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