While faces in general appear to be better remembered that other homogenous pictorial material, some experimenters have noted that faces differ in their memorability. Cross, Cross, and Daly (1971) suggest that one characteristic distinguishing more memorable faces from less memorable ones is ‘beauty.’ They reported that when subjects were asked to identify faces as attractive they were more likely to recognize them in comparison to those who had not previously viewed the faces. Cross et al. required their subjects to scan an array of photographs to select the attractive faces without setting a specific time limit, which in part could have influenced their results. Cross et al. offer the hypothesis that attractive faces are more actively attended to, but studies in verbal learning indicate that evaluative judgments of words are associated with their ease of recall. For example, Amster (1964) found that the words evaluated as ‘good’ were recalled better than words rated ‘bad’, which in turn were more readily recalled than neural words. These results were attributed both to associative effects of evaluative words and to the possibility of facilitation due to affective arousal. The associative effects of the evaluated words refer to those interpretations of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ words by the participants. The affective arousal effects are the emotional feelings the subjects experience when they paired the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ words with the ‘attractive’ and ‘unattractive’ faces. Thus, if ‘beautiful’ faces elicit positive evaluations, which presumably they do, the superior recall in beautiful faces in Cross et al.’s experiment might be attributable to facilitative effects comparable with those in verbal learning.
In the case of verbal materials, it is possible that both associative and arousal effects would operate; but with faces, the arousal effects are likely to be greater than the associative effects. Investigations of the effects of arousal become more marked with increasing time after initial learning (McLean, 1969; Kleinsmith and Kaplan, 1963). If attractive and unattractive faces do result in greater arousal than neutral faces, there should be less retention of neutral (versus attractive and unattractive) faces with increasing time between presentation and recognition. Shepherd and Ellis (1973) looked at this topic and found that the memorability of women’s faces is effected by their attractiveness, although this effect was significant only after an interval of five weeks. This suggests that retention of attractive individuals in more significant after an extended amount of time has passed between tests. Fleishman, Buckley, Klosinsky, Smith and Tuck (1976) ran a study similar to the previous one, but instead they offered another suggestion, which asks you to remember the faces by specific cues or features.
Facial and vocal characteristics have the power to influence subjects, especially if they are asked to determine whether or not the person being studied seems ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Yarmey (1993) used this concept and applied it to his research by looking at faces and memory and the law. He found significant a correlation between the facial traits of men and their vocal characteristics that differentiated ‘good guys’ from ‘bad guys’.
Research has also shown that attractive people are seen as more socially skillful, kind, outgoing and sensitive as opposed to unattractive people (Dion, Berscheid & Walster, 1972). Larrance and Zuckerman (1981) agreed that the attractiveness stereotype might foster social skills. Also that they are better at expressing pleasant affects but not at sending and expressing unpleasant effects. They found this to be true because a smile that is deemed attractive may have advantages over an unattractive frown, although an attractive frown and an unattractive frown were both seen undesirable. Adams (1977, a cited by Larrance & Zuckerman, 1981) claimed that confirmation of stereotypes takes place in four stages; attractive people 1) receive favorable expectations from others 2) enjoy better social lives 3) develop better self-concepts 4) manifest confident interpersonal relationships. Attractive people are better at communicating an effective message because they are seen as more skilled in sending nonverbal messages (Larrance & Zuckerman, 1981).
Not only are attractive people believed to be more skillful in persuasion and exhibiting characteristics that parallel persuasion, but they are also form superior self-concepts compared to unattractive people. One’s self-concept in developed and influence the most during adolescence where one discovers their physical appearance which exerts a lasting influence on their personality development (Jackson, Sullivan & Ames, 1987). Galper and Hochberg (1971) looked at this notion of retention and faces and noted that the characteristics of smiling and non-smiling expressions may play a role in recognition. This leads one to believe that expressional variation offers a topic for investigating the properties by which faces are discriminated and remembered.
Expressional variation within faces may include faces that do not resemble your own, maybe that of a different race. For many years, it has been suspected that face’s of one’s own race are recognized more accurately than faces of other races (Feingold, 1914). And this notion continues to hold true though research conducted by Zebrowitz, Montepare & Lee (1993) which revealed that people of one race showed equally high agreement regarding the traits of own and other-race faces. Brigham & Malpass (1985) claim that there is an own-race bias in recognition accuracy when it comes to race and face perception in connection with our long-term memories. The own-race bias appears powerful and is not easily changed by experimental instructions or manipulations. For example, the effect is not influenced by an experimental design that encourages different levels of cognitive processes (Devine & Malpass, 1985).
Some earlier studies (e.g. Malpass & Kravitz, 1969) had suggested that the own-race bias may be stronger among whites than among blacks. Barkowitz and Brigham (1982) also found a significant degree of own-race bias in recognition accuracy only among the white participants. Overall, they found a significant gender difference in retention. The male and female participants did poorer when they were asked to recall the photos of the males opposed to the females. Their explanation for differential recognition is derived from the intergroup contact theory, which argues that differential recognition stems from limited experience with members of other groups. Chiroro and Valentine (1995) found that their participants recognized own-race faces more accurately and more confidently than they recognized other-race faces. The own-race bias, an idea where individuals favor individuals of their own-race by remembering familiar faces. They also found the own–race bias was determined by the participant’s contact with members of another race. The own-race bias came into effect with those who had low contact with another race. Within the current study, the own-race bias will be tested with Caucasian participants to avoid any previous predictions about its effect on a cross-cultural population. The participants will view Caucasian and other race (African American and Asian) photos to separate whom they remember and whom they do not. This research deserves further research to answer questions of testing procedures and discrimination.
Purpose of Current Investigation
The literature shows that typical faces are poorly discriminated on tests of recognition than are atypical faces, an effect that is suggested to evoke similar findings for attractive or likable faces. Vokey and Read (1992) tested the effect of typicality on recognition as a function of familiarity and memorability and they found that familiarity decreased discrimination, and the memorability component enhanced it, supporting the hypothesis. Faw (1990) suggests that the reported studies, which look at the memory of faces compared with names, may have several flaws within the tests that distract the subjects. He shows that by putting the subject in a distractor-free environment, along with a conventional recognition test, the results are significant. This suggests that the method in which a subject is tested will prove to be more beneficial when the researcher administers a test, which is limited to pictorial and literal information on paper; opposed to slides, videos and audio equipment.
The data that Glenberg and Grimes (1995) collected shows that not only do subjects need a distraction-free environment but they also need pictures to generate rough personality schemas, which are then used to help organize the memory for the position statements. The participants were asked to view political candidates, and when the pictures were presented the subjects generated a greater number of characteristics for those candidates than those candidates whose positions were unaccompanied by pictures. Although, Dallett, Wilcox, and D’Andrea (1968) claimed that pictorial materials appear to be remembered directly through mechanisms which are unaffected by manipulations. With this understanding, the researcher of this study will opt to administer photographs with a brief description of the individuals shown.
It is predicted that people are remembered by means of their race as well as their level of attractiveness. One might also predict a significant main effect for the level of attractiveness and for the interaction between the sex of the stimulus. An interaction may not be found between the sex and race of the stimulus and the interval length between the tests. It is hypothesized that a significant difference will be found when the participants view and recall the photos on the levels of attractiveness, race and time between the stimulus photographs and tests. Significance is expected to be found in the retention of the attractive and unattractive photographs when they are compared cross-culturally. Within this study, it will be proven to show, that attractive people are remembered more so than unattractive people are and, that you are more likely to remember members of your own race.
The subjects were 20 Caucasian, undergraduate students from St. Anselm College, who were enrolled in Introduction to Psychology courses. They received partial credit towards their final grade by serving as participants in this study. Ten males and ten females were tested on their retention on two separate accounts. At the end of the study the subjects were debriefed on the nature of the study.
The stimulus photographs were taken from a 1997 Central High School (Manchester, NH) yearbook. The photographs were pre-rated on levels on attractiveness. There were 20 male photos and 20 female photos that were pre-rated and narrowed down to six photos for each gender. The independent raters judged the photos on levels of attractiveness by means of Likert scale from 1-7, one being very unattractive and seven being very attractive (see Appendix E). Their scores were analyzed using a median split. The three photographs that received the highest rating for their respective category (gender, race and attractiveness) were selected as the stimulus photographs, yielding a total of 12 stimulus photographs. The photographs that scored the highest and lowest extremes as well as the median score represent each of the three levels of attractiveness: attractive, moderately attractive, and unattractive. Within each category there were two photographs: one Caucasian and the other-race photo was either African American or Asian. Once the photos were cropped, the researcher placed the six male photos (three Caucasian and three other) with descriptive paragraphs. Then the researcher then continued to do the same with the six female photos (three Caucasian and three other)(see Appendix F). The paragraph consisted of several factors such as their name, number of siblings, extra-curricular activities, and plans for college. The paragraph’s information did not vary too much between the levels of attractiveness or in the different races. There were two paragraph formats for which the photos were placed with. The researcher was interested to find a difference in retention within the participants on attractive and unattractive Caucasians and the attractive Caucasians and attractive others. The photos will be cropped to fit above each paragraph. In the first session the photos were studied with the paragraphs, and then just the photos are used when the test taking occurs (see Appendix G). The researcher’s reasoning for this in to test the immediate retention for the photos. When the participants returned three days later, once again, they received the photos without the paragraphs and the characteristic questionnaire. The difference in the participant’s memory within the testing scenarios will be analyzed prove significance with attractiveness and race over time, separately and in conjunction with each other.
The first test consisted of a set of personal characteristics that were adopted from the Age Stereotyping study by William Levin (1988). The stimulus photographs were once again copied onto paper, but this time they were paired with the sixteen seven-point semantic items (one will stand for the most negative and seven, the most positive evaluations)(see Appendix C).
A questionnaire will also be administered to the subjects but at two different time intervals immediately after and then again, three days later (see Appendix D). This questionnaire was accompanied by the stimulus photographs, which were used as a cues to help the participants answer a series of yes or no and fill-in-the-blank questions regarding the information that was in the biographical paragraphs. The researcher will use this test to measure the retention on the photos by comparing the immediate testing day to the one three days later. The scores of this test will be based on what they remember instead of what they do not remember.
The testing took place in two sessions, to control for gender. The males and females participated in this study at different times and neither group was informed of another group being tested. The first session consisted of an introduction and brief description of what was going to occur. Informed consent was also given at this time (see Appendix A). Once the testing occurred the researcher administered the six photographs and the six paragraph the accompanied each one. To have a greater control on gender the participant viewed, rated and answered questions that pertained to the photos of the opposite sex. After ten minutes of viewing time the photos with the accompanying paragraphs were collected. Then those same photos were passed back to the participants but now without the paragraphs (see Appendix G). The participants also received William Levin’s characteristic rating scale for each photo as well as the questionnaire that asked questions about the individual paragraphs. Upon completion of the tests the participants were dismissed and reminded to return in three days to complete the study, to be debriefed and to receive credit for their participation.
When the participants returned three days later in two separate sessions (males and females) they were handed the sheet of photos without the paragraphs along with the second questionnaire, which was tailored to asking question about the paragraphs. Once they had all finished, the researcher debriefed them upon the nature of the study (see Appendix B) and they were dismissed.
Insert Table 1 and Figure 1 About Here
Overall, in agreement with the reviewed literature
and the predicted results, there was a significant main effect when race
was studied over time. As hypothesized, Caucasians faces were remembered
significantly better than that of other-race faces. F (1, 18)= .000,
p < .01. A significant main effect was also found for the interaction
between gender of the participant and the race of the stimulus. F
(1, 18)= .024, p < .05. Analysis shows that the male participants
did not remember other-face individuals as well as the females did.
Which goes on to prove that an own-race bias is shown for the male participants.
Insert Figure 2 and 3 About Here
It is proven to show that as time increases our memory decreases. This time effect is a crucial component to the nature of this study as a foundation for which the theories of race and attraction are based. A significant difference in memory for faces was found. F = (1,18), p < .01. There was not a significant difference in time and attraction, although there was a significant main effect for time and race. It is shown that as time increased, the retention of the Caucasian faces remained somewhat constant when the immediate testing time was compared to testing three days later. As predicted, and supported, the other-race faces were forgotten over time, as the race bias comes into effect. F = (1, 18), p < .005.
Insert Figure 4 and 5 About Here
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