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Sherryse Corrow, Tobias Donlon, Jordan Mathison, Vanessa Adamson, Albert Yonas; Differences in Face Recognition Ability Predicts Patterns of Holistic Face Processing in Children. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):572. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.572.
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DeGutis and colleagues (2012) have demonstrated that adults with developmental prosopagnosia show a typical holistic processing effect for the mouth, but not for the eye region. These findings are consistent with previous speculations that holistic processing of the eye region may be particularly important for successful face recognition. The present study examined 30 children, recruited based on their exceptionally high or low scores on the Cambridge Face Memory Task–Children (CFMT-C) from a database of more than 500 children. These children were separated into two groups roughly matched for age: those that performed very well at face recognition (high performers; N=15) and those that performed very poorly at face recognition (low performers; N=15). Average scores on the CFMT-C for each group were 91.31% (sd=5%) and 69.27% (sd=8%) respectively. For each group, we examined holistic face processing using the Part-Whole Task (Tanaka et al., 2010). This task examines the ability to recognize face parts (e.g. the eyes) both in isolation and in the context of the whole face, both of which differed by only one feature. As expected, the high performing group showed an overall holistic advantage, with greater accuracy on whole trials than part trials [t(14)=3.82, p<0.01]. This finding remained marginally significant when examining eye and mouth trials separately [Eye Trials: t(14)=1.97, p=0.068; Mouth Trials: t(14)=2.01, p=0.064]. Similar to the findings of DeGutis and colleagues (2012), the low performing group also showed an overall holistic advantage [t(14)=3.74, p<0.01]. However, this holistic advantage was carried by a holistic effect for mouth trials [t(14)=3.1, p<0.01] but not eye trials [t(14)= -0.29, n.s.]. These results replicate the finding that holistic processing of the eye region is particularly important for successful face recognition and may be impaired in cases of prosopagnosia. Furthermore, these data demonstrate the similarities in holistic processing between children and adults.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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