Neurological Sciences

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 663–669 | Cite as

Famous people recognition through personal name: a normative study

  • Chiara Piccininni
  • Davide Quaranta
  • Costanza Papagno
  • Luigi Trojano
  • Antonia Ferrara
  • Simona Luzzi
  • Giovanni Augusto Carlesimo
  • Camillo Marra
  • Guido Gainotti
Original Article


In this normative study, we investigated famous people recognition through personal name, using as stimuli the names of the same 40 Italian famous persons whose faces and voices had been utilized for the normative study of the Famous People Recognition Battery. For each famous people, we assessed name familiarity, person identification (when the name had been considered as familiar), and false alarms. The investigation was carried out on 143 normal subjects who varied in age and education. Name familiarity and semantic scores were affected by educational level, whereas age influenced false alarms. A comparison between results obtained with names in this research and with faces and voices of the same famous people in our previous study showed that familiarity scores were higher for personal names than those for faces and voices, which obtained the worst scores. Person identification scores were not significantly different from names and from faces, but both these scores were significantly higher than the semantic scores obtained by voices. Taken together, these results are inconsistent with the influential interactive activation and competition model of person recognition.


Famous people recognition Person-specific semantics Person recognition through name, face, and voice Standardization 


Compliance with ethical standards

The present study involved research on healthy subjects who provided their informed consent to participate.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Piccininni
    • 1
  • Davide Quaranta
    • 2
  • Costanza Papagno
    • 3
    • 4
  • Luigi Trojano
    • 5
    • 6
  • Antonia Ferrara
    • 5
  • Simona Luzzi
    • 7
  • Giovanni Augusto Carlesimo
    • 8
  • Camillo Marra
    • 1
  • Guido Gainotti
    • 1
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute of NeurologyCatholic University of the Sacred HeartRomeItaly
  2. 2.Institute of NeurologyFondazione Policlinico Universitario “Agostino Gemelli”RomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Centre for NeuroscienceUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  4. 4.CeRiN and CIMeCUniversity of TrentoRoveretoItaly
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’CasertaItaly
  6. 6.ICS MaugeriIRCCSTelese TermeItaly
  7. 7.Department of Experimental and Clinical MedicinePolytechnic University of MarcheAnconaItaly
  8. 8.Laboratory of Clinical and Behavioural NeurologyIRCCS Santa Lucia FoundationRomeItaly

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