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Kirsten Dalrymple, Matteo Visconti di Oleggio Castello, Jed Elison, Ida Gobbini; The development of facial identity and expression perception. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):163. doi: 10.1167/16.12.163.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Previous research suggests that face identity perception develops at the same rate as perception for objects (Weigelt et al., 2014). Does facial identity perception develop at the same rate as other face processing abilities, such as expression recognition? We developed matched tasks of facial identity and expression perception to assess the development of these abilities in children 5-12-years-old (n=127). The Identity task begins with a target face (2s) that is a morph between two identities (Identity A/Identity B). After a delay (400ms), the target face is replaced by two choice faces: 100% Identity A and 100% Identity B. The child must pick the choice face that is most similar to the target identity. The Expression task is matched in format and approximate difficulty to the Identity task, except the targets are morphs between two expressions (Angry/Happy, or Disgust/Surprise). The child must pick the choice face with the expression that is most similar to the target expression. We fitted probit mixed-effect models, estimated their slopes for each task as a measure of performance (better performance=steeper slope), and bootstrapped the models to obtain 95% confidence intervals. There was an effect of Age, with performance improving on both tasks with increasing age, and an effect of Task, with slightly steeper slopes for Expression (1.36) than Identity (1.20) across ages. There was no clear Task X Age interaction. Thus, perception of facial identity and facial expression appear to develop at the same rate, with equal improvement on both tasks as children get older. Given evidence that memory for facial identity develops at a different rate than memory for other objects (Weigelt et al.), we plan to adapt the tasks to determine whether memory for identity and expression develop at the same rates, providing further insight into the normal development of these face processing abilities.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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