Verbal description benefits for faces when description conditions are unknown a priori. / jones, todd; armstrong, ruth; casey, allanah; burson, rebecca; Memon, Amina.

In: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • todd jones
  • ruth armstrong
  • allanah casey
  • rebecca burson
  • Amina Memon


ome prior research has shown a benefit for describing nonverbal study stimuli, particularly faces, on a later recognition test relative to a control (no description) condition. In such studies, participants have known a priori whether a stimulus will need to be described, meaning that encoding differences other than the description could account for the effect. In Experiment 1, a description benefit was obtained for faces that could not be attributed to encoding differences. A direct manipulation of description dur- ation, thus allowing more time to produce descriptors, did not influence the description effect. In Experiment 2, visual rehearsal instructions (without any verbal descriptions) failed to produce a rehear- sal benefit. The experiments provide direct evidence against an account where the description or rehear- sal enhances the featural information of nonverbal representations. For the present results, a benefit stemming from the encoding and retrieval of descriptors appears to be an attractive theoretical alterna- tive over one that posits an enhancement or alteration of featural or holistic information.
Original languageEnglish
Article number
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2013
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

ID: 16615237