Lateralized Repetition Priming for Unfamiliar Faces

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Repetition priming (RP) is the ability to recognize a stimulus more rapidly as a result of prior exposure to the item. Recent research examining the neuroanatomical basis of this effect has demonstrated RP for familiar faces presented to the right but not to the left cerebral hemisphere. Extending this line of enquiry, the current research considered whether similar effects emerge when unfamiliar faces are the stimuli of interest. Using a divided-visual-field methodology, RP for unfamiliar faces in the left and the right hemispheres was assessed. The results revealed that RP: (i) only emerges in the right hemisphere; (ii) is evident regardless of whether the lateralized presentation of unfamiliar faces occurs at study or at test and (iii) occurs only when hair is cropped from the faces. The theoretical implications of these findings are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date16 Mar 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

The authors thank Dirk Kerzel, Mike Burton and Yonatan Goshen-Gottstein for their help and advice on this research. C.N.M. was supported by a Royal Society-Wolfson Fellowship.


  • face processing
  • repetition priming
  • implicit memory
  • social cognition
  • right cerebral hemisphere
  • human neural system
  • familiar faces
  • time-course
  • recognition
  • perception
  • identity
  • sex
  • categorization
  • associations


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