Kaitlyn Dillon

Mentor: Dr. Natalie Ebner
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
"Having always been interested in psychology, I applied to research labs hoping to gain a better understanding of how the field operates. My research experiences so far have been enriching in unexpected ways. I have discovered a passion and excitement about science and advancing our current understanding of how the world works. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such talented and accomplished people who share that same enthusiasm. "

Major

Sociology/Psychology

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • The role of visual attention in memory
  • Social cognition and biases
  • Lifespan development

Academic Awards

  • Student Honors Program (August 2011 - Present)
  • University Scholars Program (2014-2015)

Organizations

UF Marching Band (2011 - 2013)
  • Social Cognitive and Affective Development Lab (2013 - present)
  • Development Across the Lifespan Lab, Dr. Berg (2012 - 2013)

Volunteer

  • A. Quinn Jones School
  • Behavior Analysis Research Clinic

Hobbies and Interests

  • Music
  • Cooking
  • Coffee
  • Comedy

Research Description

Own-Age Bias in Face-Name Associations: Looking at Visual Attention and Memory in Younger and Older Adults

The ability to associate and remember faces and names is an important skill related to quality of everyday life. Difficulties in remembering names or faces can have negative social consequences, including embarrassment and social isolation. Older, compared to younger adults, consistently perform worse on tasks related to face-name associations, like face recognition and name recall. When looking at faces, people rapidly categorize the faces into appropriate social groups by processing visible person characteristics such as race, gender, or age, with consequent effects on memory, for example in terms of improved memory for own-age compared to other-age faces. Similar mechanisms may apply for names, but have not been explicitly studied yet. Attention and memory are closely linked and thus visual scanning of faces (as a proxy for attention) may explain these own-age versus other-other biases in memory performance. For example, more holistic sampling of faces helps people create representative spatial “maps” of the whole face rather than focusing on individual facial features. This kind of focused visual attention has been shown to result in improved face recognition. To date, there is very little research confirming the relationship between own-age memory bias and attention to faces as well as on the role of visual scanning during remembering rather than during learning for the own-age memory bias. Further, current research has not yet investigated the effect of own-age bias on name memory, an important task related to but considerably more difficult than face recognition. The central aim of this study is to better understand the effects of face age on visual scanning of faces during learning of new face-name associations and to better understand how visual attention predicts name memory performance.