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Catherine Mondloch, Xiaomei Zhou; Reduced Sensitivity to Variation in Normality and Attractiveness for Other-Race Faces. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):701. doi: 10.1167/15.12.701.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Adults recognize young faces and own-race faces more accurately than older and other-race faces, respectively. We recently reported that young and older adults are more sensitive to deviations from normality in young than older adult faces and that there is more between-participant variability (i.e., less consensus) in attractiveness ratings for older than young faces, suggesting that superior recognition of young adult faces is attributable to the dimensions of face space being optimized for young adult faces, presumably as the result of experience (Short & Mondloch, 2013; Short et al., 2014). In the current studies, we extended these findings to own- and other-race faces. In Experiment 1, Chinese and Caucasian adults (n= 24 per group) were shown own- and other-race face pairs in which one member of each pair was undistorted and the other had compressed or expanded features. They were asked to indicate which member of each face pair was more normal (a task that requires referencing a norm) and which was more expanded (a task that simply requires discrimination). Both Chinese and Caucasian participants were more accurate in judging the normality of own- than other-race faces, p < .001, with no effect of face race in the discrimination task, p = .60. In Experiment 2, Chinese and Caucasian adults rated the attractiveness of 40 own-race and 40 other-race faces. Consensus among Chinese adults (n = 40) did not vary as a function of face race, p = .526; testing of Caucasians is ongoing. Collectively, these results provide direct evidence that perceptual experience with own-race faces optimizes the dimensions of faces space for own-race faces.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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