Reesa Lendry

 Reesa Lendry
Mentor: Dr. Natalie Ebner
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
"I began research in the Social Cognitive and Affective Development lab two years ago and have been very passionate about it ever since. Psychology has always been one of my interests, and participating in research has allowed me to further develop my knowledge of and interest in the subject. The University Scholars Program will give me the opportunity to further devote myself to this research and will allow me to learn what it is like to develop and conduct my own research project."

Major

Microbiology and Cell Science

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Memory
  • Aging
  • Pediatric Oncology

Academic Awards

  • Charles Vincent and Heidi Cole McLaughlin Scholarship
  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Anderson Scholar of Highest Distinction

Organizations

  • Footprints Buddy and Support Program

Volunteer

  • Footprints Buddy and Support Program
  • Diocese of St. Augustine Ministry for Persons with Disabilities Summer Camp
  • Camp Boggy Creek

Hobbies and Interests

  • Playing Piano
  • Baking
  • Going to the Beach
  • Running

Research Description

Effects of Face Likability on Memory in Older and Younger Adults
Human faces are very important social stimuli, as memory of faces is vital to successful social interactions throughout our entire lives (Bruce & Le Voi, 1983; Ebner & Johnson, 2009). As we age, we experience age-related declines in our ability to remember faces (Shapiro & Penrod, 1986). This can result in social misunderstandings and difficulties during social interactions, and may lead to social isolation and feelings of loneliness in the older adult population (Hawkley et al., 2008). Specifically in the elderly, social isolation has been shown to increase the risk of both morbidity and mortality (Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2003), and loneliness has been shown to increase the risks of cognitive decline and depressed thoughts (Cacioppo & Hawkley, 2009). The goal of this study is to examine face likability as it relates to face memory in both older and younger adults. Face likability is a very interesting facial feature because it gives the face emotional and personal content. Likability is associated with perceived cooperativeness and friendliness, factors that are related to emotion and personality traits (van der Linden, Scholte, Cillessen, Nijenhuis & Segers, 2010). Taken together, this study sets out to determine the extent to which face likability improves face recognition in young and older adults, and if face and participant age are influencing factors. The project addresses three specific research questions: (1) Are more likable faces more likely remembered? (2) Is this effect more pronounced in older than younger adults? (3) Is this effect more pronounced for own-age compared to other-age faces? Fifty young and fifty older participants will be asked to encode a series of faces depicting unfamiliar young and older individuals. After a short retention interval, participants will be asked if they have previously seen the face or not. During this recognition phase, target faces (i.e., previously seen faces) and distractor faces (i.e., new faces, not presented before) will be shown. Participants then indicate how likable each face is using a seven-point Likert. Results from this study will further inform ideas about how facial features like face likability and face age can benefit memory for faces, especially in older adults who experience age-associated declines in face memory, with the long-term goal to counteract social misunderstanding and isolation in the elderly.