The Episodic Prototypes Model (EPM) : On the nature and genesis of facial representations

Faculty/Professorship: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Schneider, Tobias  ; Carbon, Claus-Christian  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: 1-45
Source/Other editions: i-perception, 12 (2021), 5, S. 1-45 - ISSN: 2041-6695
is version of: 10.1177/20416695211054105
Year of first publication: 2021
Language(s): English
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY - Attribution 4.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-545792
Faces undergo massive changes over time and life events. We need a mental representation which is flexible enough to cope with the existing visual varieties, but which is also stable enough to be the basis for valid recognition. Two main theoretical frameworks exist to describe facial representations: prototype models assuming one central item comprising all visual experiences of a face, and exemplar models assuming single representations of each visual experience of a face. We introduce a much more ecological valid model dealing with episodic prototypes (the Episodic Prototypes Model—EPM), where faces are represented by a low number of prototypes that refer to specific Episodes of Life (EoL, e.g., early adulthood, mature age) during which the facial appearance shows only moderate variation. Such an episodic view of mental representation allows for efficient storage, as the number of needed prototypes is relatively low, and it allows for the needed variation within a prototype that keeps the everyday and steadily ongoing changes across a certain period of time. Studies 1–3 provide evidence that facial representations are highly dependent on temporal aspects which is in accord with EoL, and that individual learning history generates the structure and content of respective prototypes. In Study 4, we used implicit measures (RT) in a face verification task to investigate the postulated power of the EPM. We could demonstrate that episodic prototypes clearly outperformed visual depictions of exhaustive prototypes, supporting the general idea of our approach.
GND Keywords: Gesichtserkennung; Psychologie
Keywords: facial representations, face prototypes, face-specific processing, adaptation, face learning, development, updating, life episode
DDC Classification: 150 Psychology  
RVK Classification: CP 2500   
Type: Article
Release Date: 14. July 2022

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