September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Ethnicity and gender effects in the perception of age in faces
Author Affiliations
  • Seyed Morteza Mousavi
    Graduate program in Neuroscience, University of British ColumbiaDepartment of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia
  • Mengqi Chen
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia
  • Ipek Oruc
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 1098. doi:10.1167/18.10.1098
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      Seyed Morteza Mousavi, Mengqi Chen, Ipek Oruc; Ethnicity and gender effects in the perception of age in faces. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1098. doi: 10.1167/18.10.1098.

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

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Abstract

Observers recognize faces of their own race more easily than other-race faces. This is attributed, in part, to differential experience with faces of unfamiliar ethnicities. Furthermore, differential experience is known to also have an impact on other aspects of face perception such as gender categorization (O'Toole & Peterson, 1996). One study found evidence for other-race effects in age perception in a group of African observers, though this effect was not present in the Caucasian group (Dehon & Brédart, 2001). Here, we investigated age perception in East Asian and Caucasian observers who viewed 288 faces that ranged in age from 18 to 89 years old (1:1 race and gender ratio). Observers' average age estimates increased monotonically with the true age of the face stimuli. Accuracy for age estimation was maximal for the middle age range, while age was overestimated for younger faces, and underestimated for older faces. Overall, Caucasian faces and male faces were perceived to be older than East Asian and female faces, respectively. Female observers overestimated age of male faces by one year, though these faces were perceived veridically by male observers. There was no such difference in the perception of female faces, which were slightly underestimated by both female and male observers. Importantly, perception of age in other-race faces showed a bi-phasic pattern that switched between over- and under-estimation of age around 42-47 years of age for both groups of observers. East Asian observers rated Caucasian faces older and East Asian faces younger than did Caucasian observers before this age boundary. The pattern reversed after this age range. These results reflect physiognomic features in Caucasian and East Asian, as well as female and male, faces that influence perception of age. In addition, they represent evidence of other-gender and other-race effects in age perception.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018

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