September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Face age affects the way we visually process and recognize faces: a study with adult and infant faces
Author Affiliations
  • Valentina Proietti
    University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Psychology Milan Center for Neuroscience
  • Francesca Dell'Amore
    University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Psychology
  • Emanuela Bricolo
    University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Psychology Milan Center for Neuroscience
  • Viola Macchi Cassia
    University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Psychology Milan Center for Neuroscience
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 708. doi:10.1167/15.12.708
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      Valentina Proietti, Francesca Dell'Amore, Emanuela Bricolo, Viola Macchi Cassia; Face age affects the way we visually process and recognize faces: a study with adult and infant faces. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):708. doi: 10.1167/15.12.708.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Young adults generally recognize own-age faces more accurately than other-age faces, but less is known about the perceptual mechanisms underlying this bias. With the hypothesis that visual scanning strategies may be at the origins of the advantage for own-age faces, we monitored eye movements while young adults (N=19) performed an old/new recognition memory task with adult and infant faces. After a learning phase, where 24 faces (12 adult, 12 infant) were randomly presented (3 sec/each), participants had to recognize the familiar identities among 24 distractors. Eye-movements were recorded throughout the task. Adults used a more conservative strategy (c) in responding to adult compared to infant faces (p< .01) and made more false alarms (FA) for infant compared to adult faces (p< .02). In both the learning and the recognition phases the proportion of looking time on the eye region of interest (ROI) was greater for adult compared to infant faces (p< .02); conversely the proportion of time spent looking at the cheeks and forehead ROI was greater for infant compared to adult faces (p< .02). Dwells (transitions between ROIs) were larger for adult than for infant faces (p< .01), suggesting the use of a more dynamic scanning strategy for the former than for the latter. The proportion of looking time on the eye ROI positively correlated with response performance (d’; p< .05). Overall, results are in line with earlier demonstrations that both the familiarity of identity (Heisz & Shore, 2008) and the familiarity of face category (Goldinger, He, & Papesh, 2009; Wu, Laeng, & Magnussen, 2012; but see Blais, Jack, Scheepers, Fiset, & Caldara, 2008) affects the scanning behavior in adult participants. Critically, our correlational results are the first to indicate that the eyes are a diagnostic feature for identity recognition.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015

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