Prototype formation of faces: A case of pseudo-memory


Department of Psychology, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83843, USA.


A series of Identikit faces were composed in which the features of hair, eyes, nose plus chin, and mouth were varied systematically. These faces were shown to subjects who later were asked to evaluate some of the original faces, some new faces, and a prototype face which was a new face embodying the features most frequently contained in the original series. Subjects misidentified the prototype face with high confidence as a formerly seen face. These findings were repeated in a second experiment in which the evaluation was delayed six weeks. The results were discussed in terms of prototype and schema theory.