Study shows self-evaluation influences facial memory

March 30, 2017

Can you remember someone you met for the first time? Was there something in particular about them that caught your eye?

New research from Abertay University suggests that our self-evaluation and circumstances influence our for strangers.

The study from Abertay's Dr Christopher Watkins uncovered evidence which suggests that women in a relationship are particularly good at remembering how other women look, although their memory for also depends on how they rate their own attractiveness.

It was also discovered that were particularly good at remembering brief encounters with good-looking men.

During testing, women who did not consider themselves attractive remembered other women as more beautiful than their original , and men as less beautiful than their original encounter.

In addition, women in good relationships tended to remember men's attractiveness in a more positive light.

The experiment, in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, saw in a long-term take part in a task which tested their memory for faces.

They completed a standard memory task in which they viewed faces for three seconds each and were later asked if they had seen the faces before.

Computer graphics were used to alter the appearance of some of the faces in the memory test, with participants sometimes shown more attractive or less attractive versions of previously viewed identities.

If a participant who rated herself plain-looking originally viewed a less attractive female face, she was biased in her memory and recalled that face as being more attractive.

Dr Watkins of Abertay's Division of Psychology said: "We wanted to examine whether personal factors influence memory – how good you judge your current relationship to be and how attractive other people are likely to find you."

"Our findings suggest that these two factors shape both accuracy and illusions in how you remember the attractiveness of faces after a brief encounter."

Dr Watkins said these findings suggest that memories are attuned to certain features in other people as we move through a romantic relationship, but our memories can also show striking biases.

The research suggests that our own attractiveness and thoughts on our current shape our memory for encounters with strangers.

Explore further: Global kissing study launched on Valentine's Day

More information: To find out more about the research visit www.relationship-lab.com

Related Stories

Global kissing study launched on Valentine's Day

February 15, 2017
How important is kissing to you and what do you think makes a good kiss?

Faces we don't forget: Psychologists explain how attractiveness prevents the recognition of faces

February 4, 2014
Psychologists at the University of Jena, Germany, are showing in a new study, that we tend to remember unattractive faces more likely than attractive ones. In the science magazine "Neuropsychologia" the psychologists write ...

Research examines how beardedness affects women's attraction to men

September 12, 2016
New research suggests that women tend to find beardedness attractive when judging long-term relationships, perhaps as a signal of formidability among males and the potential to provide direct benefits, such as enhanced fertility ...

Standing out in a crowd—attractiveness judged on who we are with

September 29, 2016
Research published in the journal Psychological Science has shown that judgements of attractiveness vary depending on who is nearby, and how good-looking they are in comparison. A person will rank higher on a scale of attractiveness ...

Opposites attract—unless you're in a relationship

July 14, 2016
If we are in a relationship we are more likely to be attracted to faces resembling our own, but for single people, opposites attract.

Happy couples experience perceptual downgrading of attractive alternate partners

June 6, 2016
Men and women cheat on their partners. That's no surprise. But how is it that many couples stay faithful?

Recommended for you

Visual clues we use during walking and when we use them

July 25, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers with the University of Texas and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has discovered which phase of visual information processing during human walking is used most to guide the feet accurately. ...

Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds

July 25, 2017
Even the proudest of parents may struggle to find some semblance of meaning behind the seemingly random mish-mash of letters that often emerge from a toddler's first scribbled and scrawled attempts at putting words on paper.

Psychopaths are better at learning to lie, say researchers

July 25, 2017
Individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits are better at learning to lie than individuals who show few psychopathic traits, according to a study published in the open access journal Translational Psychiatry. The ...

Higher cognitive abilities linked to greater risk of stereotyping

July 24, 2017
People with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to learn and apply social stereotypes, finds a new study. The results, stemming from a series of experiments, show that those with higher cognitive abilities also more ...

Exposure to violence hinders short-term memory, cognitive control

July 24, 2017
Being exposed to and actively remembering violent episodes—even those that happened up to a decade before—hinders short-term memory and cognitive control, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National ...

Researchers pave new path toward preventing obesity

July 24, 2017
People who experience unpredictable childhoods due to issues such as divorce, crime or frequent moves face a higher risk of becoming obese as adults, according to a new study by a Florida State University researcher.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.