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Lindsey Short, Harmonie Chan, Anne Hackland, Catherine Mondloch; Betty White versus Scarlett Johansson: Examining Consensus in Attractiveness Judgments for Young and Older Adult Faces. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1269. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1269.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We recently reported that young and older adults are more sensitive to deviations from normality in young than older adult faces, suggesting that the dimensions of face space are optimized for the face age category to which we are most frequently exposed throughout life (Short & Mondloch, 2013). Here we report two studies designed to a) investigate the implications of our previous finding for attractiveness and age judgments of naturally varying faces (Experiment 1), and b) examine the development of this differential sensitivity during childhood (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, young adults (n = 40) estimated 40 young and 40 older faces' age and attractiveness. There was more between-participant variability (i.e., less consensus) in both attractiveness ratings and age judgments for older than young faces, ps <.01. Furthermore, only for older faces was attractiveness correlated with perceived (but not actual) age, p <.05. These results further suggest that young adults' norm(s) is less well refined for older than young faces; we are currently testing older adults to examine whether extensive experience with older faces moderates this effect. In Experiment 2, seven-year-old children (n = 29) were shown young and older face pairs; one member of each pair was undistorted and the other had compressed (-50%) or expanded (+50%) features. Children indicated which member of each pair was more attractive. Similar to young and older adults, 7-year-olds were more accurate in detecting distortions in young than older faces, p <.05. We are currently testing 3-year-olds, and results to date (n = 15) suggest that like 7-year-olds, 3-year-olds are more accurate for young (73% correct) than older faces (63% correct). These results suggest that differential experience with young relative to older faces early in life is sufficient to tune children's perceptual systems to the dimensions of young adult faces.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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