No evidence that alcohol intoxication impairs judgments of learning in face recognition

Lauren A. Monds*, Lilian Kloft, James D. Sauer, Cynthia A. Honan, Matthew A. Palmer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Alcohol use is frequently involved in crime, making it crucial to understand the role of alcohol in facial recognition to maximize correct perpetrator identifications. Although the majority of the alcohol and face recognition research has investigated recognition with retrospective confidence judgments, we examined the effects of alcohol intoxication on face recognition with prospective metacognitive judgments. Participants (N=54 university students without a history of hazardous alcohol/substance use) consumed either alcohol (mean breath alcohol concentration of 0.06 at pretest and 0.07 at post-test) or a non-alcoholic placebo drink. Participants then studied unfamiliar male and female faces and made judgments of learning (JOLs) for each face (i.e., predicted the likelihood of recognizing that face on a future memory test). After a brief distractor task, participants completed an old-new recognition test on which they attempted to distinguish the studied faces from new faces. It was found that the alcohol manipulation had minimal effect on face recognition performance or judgments of learning. Our results suggest that theory-based cues about the effects of alcohol might play a greater role in retrospective judgments than prospective judgments. Although not a primary focus of the study, face recognition was better for male faces than female faces, and this occurred for both female and male participants. Limitations and implications of the research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-333
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • confidence
  • face recognition
  • JOLs
  • metacognition
  • CONFIDENCE-ACCURACY RELATIONSHIP
  • EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION
  • DESCENDING-LIMB
  • METAANALYSIS
  • CALIBRATION
  • METAMEMORY
  • RESOLUTION
  • WITNESSES
  • SUSPECTS
  • RECALL

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