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Alyson Saville, Benjamin Balas; The influence of hometown population on the relationship between face memory and holistic processing. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):914. doi: 10.1167/16.12.914.
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Enhanced experience with specific face categories (e.g., race) and visual deprivation can influence long-term face recognition abilities. Currently, we examine whether limited face exposure during development, resulting from growing up in a depopulated area, may also affect face processing. Participants from very depopulated areas are a unique population that allows us to study face deprivation in the absence of visual deprivation. Previously, we have shown that these individuals have poorer face memory for unfamiliar faces relative to control participants, and here we examine if their reduced experience with faces also leads to a differential relationship between face memory and holistic processing. We recruited participants from small (< 1000 persons, N=21) and large (>30,000 persons, N=20) communities and used two measures to characterize face recognition abilities: (1) The Cambridge Face Memory Test (Duchaine & Nakayama, 2006) and (2) The Vanderbilt Holistic Processing Test – Faces 2.1 (VHPT, Richler, Floyd, & Gauthier, 2014). We asked participants to complete both tasks, as well as the Cambridge Car Memory Test (CCMT) so that we could determine how holistic face processing and object memory predicted face memory performance across groups. For large-town participants, a multiple regression analysis revealed a significant linear relationship between the CCMT, the VHPT, and face memory performance (R2 = 0.58, p = 0.0016). Critically, holistic processing performance was a significant negative predictor of CFMT performance for individuals from large towns. For participants from small towns, we did not observe a significant relationship between our predictors and CFMT performance (R2 = 0.19, p = 0.29). These results suggest that the strategies and representations employed for face recognition may differ across our participant groups. In particular, we suggest that observers from depopulated regions may have more idiosyncratic mechanisms supporting face memory performance than observers with greater face experience.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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