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Effects of exposure to facial expression variation in face learning and recognition

Liu, Chang Hong; Chen, Wenfeng; Ward, James


Chang Hong Liu

Wenfeng Chen

James Ward


Facial expression is a major source of image variation in face images. Linking numerous expressions to the same face can be a huge challenge for face learning and recognition. It remains largely unknown what level of exposure to this image variation is critical for expression-invariant face recognition. We examined this issue in a recognition memory task, where the number of facial expressions of each face being exposed during a training session was manipulated. Faces were either trained with multiple expressions or a single expression, and they were later tested in either the same or different expressions. We found that recognition performance after learning three emotional expressions had no improvement over learning a single emotional expression (Experiments 1 and 2). However, learning three emotional expressions improved recognition compared to learning a single neutral expression (Experiment 3). These findings reveal both the limitation and the benefit of multiple exposures to variations of emotional expression in achieving expression-invariant face recognition. The transfer of expression training to a new type of expression is likely to depend on a relatively extensive level of training and a certain degree of variation across the types of expressions.


Liu, C. H., Chen, W., & Ward, J. (2015). Effects of exposure to facial expression variation in face learning and recognition. Psychological research, 79(6), 1042-1053.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 6, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 15, 2014
Publication Date 2015-11
Deposit Date May 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 5, 2016
Journal Psychological research
Print ISSN 0340-0727
Electronic ISSN 1430-2772
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 79
Issue 6
Pages 1042-1053
Keywords Facial expression
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a copy of an open access article published in Psychological research, 2014, v.79 issue 6.


Published article (1.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

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