Attempted recall of biographical information influences face attractiveness

David Grybinas, Ian G. Dobbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined affective consequences arising from the kinds of memory retrieval failures that often accompany social interaction. To do so, we measured the influence of cued-recall outcomes for biographical information on the rated attractiveness of faces. The data demonstrate that retrieval of names (Experiment 1a) and professions (Experiment 1b) increases the rated attractiveness of target faces relative to faces that failed to produce recall of associative information. This was predicted by a confirmation of search (COS) model originally developed on verbal memoranda, which assumes that confirmation bias during memory search leads to affective consequences depending upon retrieval’s success or failure. The current study extends this model, showing that evaluative judgments of individuals are in part contingent upon the memory retrieval skills of their assessors. We conclude by discussing potential extensions of the COS paradigm to the measurement of implicit attitudes and special populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-961
Number of pages9
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Cued recall
  • Emotion
  • Encoding effects
  • Memory


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