The relationship between discrimination and memory for spacing and feature changes in houses
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Adults need to discriminate between stimuli and recognize those previously seen. For faces, feature changes (e.g., different eyes) and spacing changes (e.g., distances between eyes) are important cues. In two experiments, we assessed the influence of these on discrimination and recognition of houses, a commonly used control in face studies. In both experiments, discrimination was better for feature than spacing changes. Memory for spacing changes was generally poor but aided by extra learning and intermixing change types. Conversely, memory for features was good, especially when there were few houses, and change type was blocked. Unexpectedly, memory was best for differences that might signal something about occupants (e.g., changes to garden or bins), perhaps akin to hairstyles for faces. Overall, results are consistent with previous work showing poor discrimination of spacing in non-face objects and extends them to show that, unlike for faces, spacing differences are also not well remembered.
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