When physical similarity matters: Mechanisms underlying affective learning generalization to the evaluation of novel faces

Sara C. Verosky, Alexander T. Todorov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

In two experiments, participants first learned to associate faces with negative, neutral, or positive behaviors and then evaluated morphs of these faces with novel faces. Across both experiments, participants evaluated new (morph) faces that were similar to familiar negative faces more negatively than new (morph) faces that were similar to familiar positive faces. This learning generalization effect was present when participants' judgments of the new (morph) faces were a) based not only on facial appearance but also on relevant behavioral information (Experiment 1); b) made under cognitive load (Experiment 2); and c) made under instructions not to use similarity information (Experiment 2). The findings of the experiments suggest that learning generalization based on facial physical similarity is a powerful and relatively automatic process, which likely influences face evaluation across a range of circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-669
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Automaticity
  • Face learning
  • Overgeneralization
  • Perceptual similarity
  • Trait impressions

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