The effect of distraction on face and voice recognition

S.V. Stevenage, G.J. Neil, J. Barlow, A. Dyson, C. Eaton-Brown, B. Parsons

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The results of two experiments are presented which explore the effect of distractor items on face and voice recognition. Following from the suggestion that voice processing is relatively weak compared to face processing, it was anticipated that voice recognition would be more affected by the presentation of distractor items between study and test compared to face recognition. Using a sequential matching task with a fixed interval between study and test that either incorporated distractor items or did not, the results supported our prediction. Face recognition remained strong irrespective of the number of distractor items between study and test. In contrast, voice recognition was significantly impaired by the presence of distractor items regardless of their number (Experiment 1). This pattern remained whether distractor items were highly similar to the targets or not (Experiment 2). These results offer support for the proposal that voice processing is a relatively vulnerable method of identification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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