Previous research has implied that the accuracy of facial recognition may depend on the amount of time and attention paid to a particular feature. Recent studies have suggested that there may be an observer sex difference in visual scanning of unfamiliar faces, implying women and men may be processing different information (Hall, Hutton, & Morgan, 2010). While it has been shown repeatedly that women are more accurate at facial recognition and recognition of emotion, it has not yet been discovered if there is an individual feature that makes their increased recall possible. A better understanding of the interaction between gender and facial feature recall will help to increase knowledge surrounding the cognitive processes associated with facial recognition. It may also provide an understanding of whether or not there are gender differences regarding which facial features make individuals memorable. The current study was conducted using 55 participants, 37 women and 18 men, who were asked to observe four faces, and then later distinguish features of those faces from a group of distractors. Results of a 2x5 ANOVA show a significant main effect of features, and a non-significant trend of participant gender. This indicates that men and women process and encode facial features differently, and certain features are remembered more than others in unfamiliar facial recognition.
Kaplan, Stephanie, "The Effect of Gender on Recalling Facial Features: Does Our Gender Determine Which Features Are Encoded at First Glance?" (2012). Psychology Student Work. 2.