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Valentina Proietti, Antonella Pisacane, Viola Macchi Cassia; EXPERIENCE AFFECTS AGE BIASES IN FACE PROCESSING IN CHILDREN AND ADULTS. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):21. doi: 10.1167/12.9.21.
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The study tested recognition of younger- and older-adult faces in two groups of adults (Exp.1; N=35) and 3-year-old children (Exp.2; N=30) differing for the amount of experience with older adults. Participants were tested within a delayed two-alternative forced-choice matching-to-sample task with upright and inverted faces. The magnitude of the inversion effect for each face age was used as a broad marker of configural processing. Results of Exp.1 showed that face age affected adults’ recognition accuracy differently in the two groups (Face age x Orientation x Experience;p<05). Adults with limited experience with older people exhibited better discrimination of younger compared to older faces in the upright orientation and an inversion effect selective for younger-adult faces (Face age x Orientation;p<.001). This processing advantage for younger-adult faces was absent in adults with an average working experience of 10 years in retirement homes, who showed comparable discrimination of younger and older-adult faces and an inversion cost of comparable magnitude for both face ages (Orientation;p<001). Exp.2 as well showed that the processing advantage for younger-adult faces was modulated by experience. Unlike adults, however, children showed a generalized inversion effect for both younger and older-adult faces, irrespective of the amount of experience accumulated with older people (Face age x Experience;p<. 05). Moreover, in children with limited experience with older people the magnitude of the inversion effect for older faces was marginally correlated with the average number of hours per year of contact with older people (r=.51, p=.054), suggesting that limited exposure to older people in these children was sufficient to tune configural-processing strategies to older-adult faces. Overall, the study provides further evidence for the existence of a perceptual processing advantage for younger-adult faces over faces from other-age groups across the lifespan, and extends previous evidence for a perceptual learning account of such advantage.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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