Learning and Recognition of Facial Images Without Awareness
Authors: Tammy Ott, Sonja Schmer-Galunder
Abstract: Bombardment with concurrent information while completing a complex task often leads to cognitive overload. We develop an approach to provide information in a way that requires extremely low demands on attention and cognition. Brief exposure evaluative conditioning is used as a workable method for improving facial recognition performance, with learning occurring during a baggage screening task and identification occurring through skin conductance response (SCR). Here we determine the efficacy of our approach as well as effects with primary task performance. Results show that our methodology is effective at producing measurable SCR upon later exposure to the images. Specifically, we demonstrate that 1) SCRs to previously primed faces begin significantly later, 2) will be significantly slower to peak 3) produce significantly higher peaks than SCRs to non-primed faces and 4) primed faces can be liked more than non-primed faces. Furthermore, our priming methodology was successfully performed during the completion of the baggage screening task without affecting priming or significantly affecting the screening task. We demonstrate the ability of people to unconsciously react to a previously conditioned facial image (presented and paired according to our paradigm) without detracting from other ongoing tasks (at least for the situation tested here).
Keywords: Evaluative Conditioning, Subliminal Priming, Baggage Screening, Unconscious Learning, Skin Conductance Response, SCR
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