August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Older adult faces in the young adults' eyes: attention towards identity cues eliminates the recognition advantage for young adult faces
Author Affiliations
  • Valentina Proietti
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
  • Sarah Laurence
    Department of Psychology, Keele University
  • Catherine Mondloch
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 921. doi:
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      Valentina Proietti, Sarah Laurence, Catherine Mondloch; Older adult faces in the young adults' eyes: attention towards identity cues eliminates the recognition advantage for young adult faces. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):921.

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

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Young adults typically recognize young adult faces more accurately than older adult faces (own-age bias [OAB]). However, most research on this topic has measured recognition memory for controlled images of different identities and participants typically are instructed to memorize faces during a study phase. We investigate the OAB for images incorporating within-person variability in appearance and examined whether making same/different judgements (i.e., focusing on identity cues) about face pairs during the study phase reduces the OAB. Young adults (n=24/group) completed an old/new recognition task after viewing a series of old and young faces. During the study phase, one group completed a perceptual matching task in which participants were required to decide whether two different pictures of older/young adult faces belonged to the same person or two different people. Participants in the control group viewed the same faces during the study phase but faces were presented sequentially and participants were instructed to remember them. In the identity matching task, there was no overall advantage for young faces. However, accuracy was higher for old compared to young faces on same trials (p=.031), but for young compared to older faces on different trials (p=.021). In the recognition task, participants in the control condition demonstrated the typical OAB (better memory for young relative to older faces [p=.042]); in contrast, the OAB was absent for participants who first completed the matching task (p=.491). The absence of the OAB in the identity-matching condition is attributable to identity matching improving performance for older (p=.002), but not young faces (p=.60), relative to the control condition. Collectively, these results suggest that the OAB is attributable to a failure to attend to identity cues in older faces rather than an inability to encode and store older adult faces.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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