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Catherine Mondloch, Alexandra Hatry, Lindsey Short; The development of face Prototypes: evidence for simple and opposing aftereffects in children. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):520. doi: 10.1167/9.8.520.
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Norm-based coding underlies adults' expert face processing (Valentine, 1991). Adaptation aftereffects for several facial characteristics (e.g., race, sex) indicate that this prototype is updated as new faces are encountered (Webster et al., 2004). For example, prolonged exposure (adaptation) to one kind of facial distortion (e.g. facial features compressed inward) temporarily shifts preferences, making similarly distorted faces appear more attractive. Adults‘ face space has been further specified by opposing aftereffects: When adapted to two face categories (e.g. Caucasian and Chinese) distorted in opposite directions (e.g. expanded vs. compressed), adults‘ attractiveness ratings shift in opposite directions (Jaquet et al., 2007), as long as the two sets of faces belong to different categories (Bestelmeyer et al., 2008). Recent studies have used aftereffects as a tool to investigate the development of expert face processing. Our lab has shown that 8-year-olds exhibit attractiveness aftereffects in the context of a computerized storybook (Anzures, et al., in press). Here we extend our previous work in two ways. First, using a slightly modified method we provide the first demonstration of attractiveness aftereffects in 5-year-old children. After reading a storybook with either compressed or expanded facial features, 5-year-olds were more likely to choose a face distorted in the direction of adaptation than an undistorted face when asked which member of a face pair was more attractive, ps p = .02. For example, following adaptation to compressed Chinese and expanded Caucasian faces, 8-year-olds' attractiveness ratings selectively increased for compressed Chinese and expanded Caucasian faces. We are currently testing 5-year-old children for opposing after-effects.
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