Familiarity influences visual detection in a task that does not require explicit recognition

Pei Ling Yang, Diane M. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study aims to explore one factor that likely contributes to these statistical regularities, familiarity. Are highly familiar stimuli perceived more readily? Previous work showing effects of familiarity on perception have used recognition tasks, which arguably tap into post-perceptual processes. Here we use a perceptual task that does not depend on explicit recognition; participants were asked to discriminate whether a rapidly presented image was intact or scrambled. The familiarity level of stimuli was manipulated. Results show that famous or upright orientated logos (Experiments 1 and 2) or faces (Experiment 3) were better discriminated than novel or inverted logos and faces. To further dissociate our task from recognition, we implemented a simple detection task (Experiment 4) and directly compared the intact/scrambled task to a recognition task (Experiment 5) on the same set of faces used in Experiment 3. The fame and orientation familiarity effect were still present in the simple detection task, and the duration needed on the intact/scrambled task was significantly less than the recognition task. We conclude that familiarity effect demonstrated here is not driven by explicit recognition and instead reflects a true perceptual effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1149
Number of pages23
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Face perception
  • Visual perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Familiarity influences visual detection in a task that does not require explicit recognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this