September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Categorization of face race and sex in preschool-aged children by means of fast periodic visual stimulation.
Author Affiliations
  • Ryan Barry-Anwar
    Department of Psychology, University of Florida
  • Stefania Conte
    Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca
  • Lisa Scott
    Department of Psychology, University of Florida
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 564. doi:
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      Ryan Barry-Anwar, Stefania Conte, Lisa Scott; Categorization of face race and sex in preschool-aged children by means of fast periodic visual stimulation.. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):564. doi:

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

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Preschool-aged children have been found to show superior recognition of own-race faces (Sangrigoli & de Schonen, 2004). However, the developmental trajectory of the categorization of face sex and face race during the preschool years is not well understood. Here 4-year-old and 5-year-old neural categorization of sex and race was examined using fast periodic visual stimulation. Continuous EEG was recorded in a group of Caucasian 4- (n=6) and 5-year old children (n= 6) while faces from one category were presented at a frequency of 6 Hz (the standard category). Every 5th face was a face from a different category (the oddball category presented at 1.2 Hz). We tested for 4 types of categorization: 1) race categorization within male faces, 2) race categorization within female faces, 3) sex categorization within familiar race faces, and 4) sex categorization within unfamiliar race faces. It was predicted that children would show robust evidence of neural categorization within the most commonly experienced groups (female faces and familiar race faces). Preliminary results show a significant standard visual response (6 Hz) for all 4 conditions (p's < .001; Figure 1). Separate analyses of the categorization of face sex and face race were conducted for the 1.2 Hz response across ages (4 years, 5 years) and regions (left occipitotemporal, left occipital, occipital, right occipital, right occipitotemporal). Both ages categorized sex over posterior scalp regions (p < .05; Figure 2). When categorizing faces by race, 5-year-old children's 1.2 Hz response was more right lateralized than 4-year-olds (p's < .05). The present results suggest age differences when preschool aged children perceptually categorize faces by race but not by sex. The perceptual categorization differences, reported here, for face race are consistent with behavioral studies examining race biases in 5 year olds (Kinzler et al., 2009; Shutts et al., 2013).

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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