Electrophysiological studies have investigated the nature of face recognition in a variety of paradigms; some have contrasted famous and novel faces in explicit memory paradigms, others have repeated faces to examine implicit memory/ priming. If the general finding that implicit memory can last for up to several months also holds for novel faces, a reliable measure of it could have practical application for eyewitness testimony, given that explicit measures of eyewitness memory have at times proven fallible. The current study aimed to determine whether indirect behavioral and electrophysiological measures might yield reliable estimates of face memory over longer intervals than have typically been obtained with priming manipulations. Participants were shown 192 faces and then tested for recognition at four test delays ranging from immediately up to 1 week later. Three event-related brain potential components (e.g., N250r, N400f, and LPC) varied with memory measures although only the N250r varied regardless of explicit recognition, that is, with both repetition and recognition.

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