Feature repetition effects on object familiarity: Evidence from an old/new recognition task


We performed an old/new study/test recognition task to investigate feature repetition effects on object familiarity. The results showed that repeated features increased “old” responses during the test phase for new objects. This increase was linear with the number of repeated features on the object. Old objects, which had been among the study phase stimuli, were not affected by the number of repeated features on the object. We also analyzed the effect of feature type (colour, shape, border and pattern) on familiarity responses. We found an effect of feature type only for the old objects. Saliency of the features also affected familiarity: the more salient the repeated feature was, the more familiar the object was found. We propose that the feature repetition effect for the new objects might be due to (1) activation of more than one representation constructed during the study phase (2) a separate representation for the repeated features, which has the potential to interfere with several perceptual processes.

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