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Putting names to faces

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Abstract

16 undergraduates learned occupations and surnames paired with photographs of 16 unfamiliar faces. Results indicate that surnames were harder to recall than occupations, regardless of the order in which the items were learned and regardless of whether the labels were ambiguous (surnames that could represent either surnames or occupations) or unambiguous (surnames that could not represent occupations or occupations not commonly used as surnames). Findings support the contention that names are learned differently than other semantic information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Putting names to faces McWeeny, Kathryn H;Young, Andrew W;Hay, Dennis C;Ellis, Andrew
W British Journal of Psychology; May 1, 1987; 78, 2; Periodicals Archive Online pg. 143
... Empirical evidence has also been provided (Brédart, 2017;Brédart & Valentine, 1998;Cohen & Burke, 1993;McWeeny et al., 1987;Pelamatti et al., 2003;Semenza, 2009;Semenza & Zettin, 1988, 1989 supporting the theory according to which what makes PN fragile is their lack of descriptiveness. Brédart and Valentine (1998), for example, contrasted naming of pictures of well-known cartoon characters that had either descriptive names (e.g. ...
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Cognitive reserve (CR) refers to acquired experience that modulates resistance to physiological aging or brain damage. A relatively neglected issue is whether or not CR affects cognitive abilities equally. One relevant component of CR seems to be the richness of connections in semantic knowledge. We examined, in N = 66 healthy older adults, the potential influence of CR and semantic knowledge on the ability to retrieve proper names and common nouns. These two name categories have different semantic organisations, whereby proper names are characterised by a weaker semantic link to the information they refer to. Controlling for age, CR and semantic knowledge were linearly and positively associated with common noun retrieval. On the other hand, CR assisted proper name retrieval in older adults with a weaker semantic profile, while semantic knowledge assisted proper name retrieval in older adults with lower CR. This study contributes to define the cognitive underpinnings of CR.
... For instance, a person's name is difficult to remember compared to conceptual biographical information describing that person, such as their profession 6 . This difficulty persists even in the case of name-profession homophones; a phenomenon called the "Baker-baker paradox" 2,3,5,7 . In other words, it is much harder to recall that a person's surname is Baker than to recall that a person is a baker. ...
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We often fail to recall another person's name. Proper names might be more difficult to memorize and retrieve than other pieces of knowledge, such as one's profession because they are processed differently in the brain. Neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies associate the bilateral anterior temporal lobes (ATL) in the retrieval of proper names and other person-related knowledge. Specifically, recalling a person's name is thought to be supported by the left ATL, whereas recalling specific information such as a person's occupation is suggested to be subserved by the right ATL. To clarify and further explore the causal relationship between both ATLs and proper name retrieval, we stimulated these regions with anodal, cathodal and sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) while the participants memorized surnames (e.g., Mr. Baker) and professions (e.g., baker) presented with a person’s face. The participants were then later asked to recall the surname and the profession. Left ATL anodal stimulation resulted in higher intrusion errors for surnames than sham, whereas right ATL anodal stimulation resulted in higher overall intrusion errors, both, surnames and professions, compared to cathodal stimulation. Cathodal stimulation of the left and right ATL had no significant effect on surname and profession recall. The results indicate that the left ATL plays a role in recalling proper names. On the other hand, the specific role of the right ATL remaines to be explored.
... Even if some prior knowledge gets activated by learners, it has to be relevant for the learning task at hand to have a beneficial effect. Research on the so-called "Baker-baker paradox" 12 illustrates the importance of this dimension. The paradox describes the finding that remembering a face-name association (i.e., that a person's surname is Baker) is disproportionately harder than remembering face-profession associations (i.e., that a person's profession is baker). ...
... Even superficially identical information is better remembered if it is integrated into a set of knowledge rather than simply seen as arbitrary. For example, people are better at remembering that someone is a baker than that someone's name is Baker, because the profession baker activates a rich set of meaningful associations that the name Baker does not (McWeeny et al., 1987); and people remember visual images better if they recognize them as faces than if identical images are not recognized, but seen as meaningless texture (e.g., Brady et al., 2019). ...
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