July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Visual recognition of the "silent generation": Understanding the recognition advantage for young versus older adult faces.
Author Affiliations
  • Valentina Proietti
    Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca
  • Viola Macchi Cassia
    Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca
  • Catherine Mondloch
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 989. doi:10.1167/13.9.989
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      Valentina Proietti, Viola Macchi Cassia, Catherine Mondloch; Visual recognition of the "silent generation": Understanding the recognition advantage for young versus older adult faces.. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):989. doi: 10.1167/13.9.989.

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

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Young adults recognize own-age faces more accurately than other-age faces, but less is known about the underlying mechanisms and there is inconsistent data concerning whether older adults show an own-age or a young-adult recognition bias. In Experiment 1 we tested young adults’ (n = 20) ability to recognize upright and inverted young versus older faces in a delayed 2-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) task. We found a marginal advantage for young faces in the upright condition (p=.058) and a stronger inversion effect for young faces (p=.015), indicating greater use of face-specific processing strategies with young compared to older faces. In Experiment 2 we tested whether the young face processing advantage reflects greater sensitivity to identity cues in young faces. We blended 24 young and 24 old identities to create two average faces (one young, one old) and then morphed the average face with each original identity to create faces with different identity strengths (5 steps: 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%). In each of four blocks, young (20-30) and older (60-90) participants were trained to recognize a target face and then were asked to detect that target face or faces similar to the target (e.g., the 40% version) among other faces of the same age. Although young adults were overall more sensitive than older adults (p <.001), there was no effect of face age (p = .39), indicating that sensitivity to identity cues for both young and older adults does not differ as a function of face age in a target detection task. Accordingly, in Experiment 3 we replicated the 2AFC task at 60% identity strength and found that the processing advantage for young faces disappeared. Perhaps the own-age processing advantage in young adults reflects greater efficiency in building representations of multiple identities, this advantage is lost when identity strength is reduced.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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