This study aimed to investigate the effect of automatic attentional bias on change detection and recognition memory performance. In this context, attractive faces, which have priority in attention selection, were used as stimuli. The data of 110 participants were analyzed (54 females, 56 males, Mage = 20.87 ± 1.80). As a result, there was a significant effect of attractiveness [F(2.73, 295.16) = 37.33, p < .001, ƞp2 = .26] and model gender [F(1, 108) = 6.47, p < .05, ƞp2 = .06] on change detection performance. Accordingly, the fastest performance is when only the target was an attractive female; the slowest performance was observed when only the distractors were attractive female. On the other hand, the data of 94 participants (46 females, 48 males, Mage = 21.05 ± 1.95) were analyzed for the recognition memory. Accordingly, low memory performance was generally observed. Memory sensitivity was significantly lower for attractive faces (-.31) than average-looking ones (.59). Besides, bias to respond “old” for attractive faces were higher than average-looking faces for both model genders. Therefore, the findings suggest that the decision criterion was more liberal for attractive faces (for females -.06, for males -.46) than average faces (for females .15, for males .33). On the other hand, there was no significant effect of the participant gender on both attention and memory tasks (p > .05). The study is the first known change detection and recognition memory study to examine participant gender, model gender, and attractiveness together. The limitations of the study and suggestions for future studies are handled in the discussion section.
Change detection, facial attractiveness, recognition memory, automatical attention, gender differences.