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Gizelle Anzures, Liezhong Ge, Zhe Wang, Shoji Itakura, Kang Lee; An Own-Age Bias in Adults' Facial Age Judgments. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):624. doi: 10.1167/10.7.624.
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We examined the influence of differential experience with own- and other-age faces on adults' facial age judgment ability. In doing so, we were able to ascertain whether experience with a particular age group during a given period leads to more sophisticated processing of those faces regardless of subsequent experience with that age group, or whether continued experience with a given age group is necessary to preserve that level of sophisticated face processing.
Asian young adult participants were sequentially shown 21 randomly ordered Asian faces (seven faces of children, seven faces of young adults, and seven faces of middle-age adults) on a computer and asked to judge the age of each face in years. To determine whether the influence of differential experience on facial age judgment ability is independent of culture, we recruited Asians in Japan (n = 32), China (n = 39), and Canada (n = 33).
A 3 (participant ethnicity: Japanese, Chinese, Asian-Canadian) x 3 (stimulus age group: child, young adult, middle-age adult) x 7 (stimulus age: 7 different faces per stimulus age group) ANOVA with participants' age estimates as the dependent variable revealed that all participants, regardless of ethnicity, showed an own-age bias in their age judgments. That is, relative to age judgments for children's/middle-age adults' faces, participants' age judgments showed the greatest differentiation between own-age faces from the young adult stimulus facial age group. This own-age bias suggests that our visual perception of facial age is continuously recalibrated as we age and subsequently gain the most experience with a new group of own-age individuals, so that we are always most sensitive to small facial age differences within the age group to which we currently belong. Our results suggest that one's current – rather than past – experience with own-age faces may be most influential in our face processing ability.
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