October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Does relationship quality with family or peers predict facial recognition abilities in emerging adults?
Author Affiliations
  • Myles Arrington
    Psychology Department, Pennsylvania State University
  • K. Suzanne Scherf
    Psychology Department, Pennsylvania State University
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 1502. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1502
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      Myles Arrington, K. Suzanne Scherf; Does relationship quality with family or peers predict facial recognition abilities in emerging adults?. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1502. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1502.

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

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Some work indicates that social competence is related to individual differences in face recognition (FR) abilities. For example, extraversion and empathy are reportedly related to better FR performance, while social anxiety predicts worse performance (Davis et al., 2011). This work does not account for dynamics of specific social relationships or changes in these relationships through development. Most experimental work is executed with emerging adult participants (ages 18-25 yrs) who are undergoing a developmental transition such that peers predominate the social networks that family once did. Here, we evaluated how conflict and social support with family versus peers are associated with face and object recognition abilities in emerging adults (N=118). We used the Network of Relationships Inventory to measure positive and negative relationship quality among family members (mother, father, sibling, optional relative) and peers (same- and opposite-sex best friends, romantic partner – current/most recent). Face recognition for emerging adult faces was assessed using the long form of the Cambridge Face Memory task, with male (M-CFMT) (Duchaine & Nakayama, 2006; Russel et al, 2009) and female (F-CFMT) (Scherf et al., 2017) faces. Object recognition was tested using the Cambridge Car Recognition Task. In contrast to predictions from the literature, regardless of whether from family or peers, enhanced social support did not predict better FR abilities. However, increasing conflict with family members, but not peers, predicted better face, but not car, recognition abilities in both FR tasks. One possible interpretation of these findings is that higher family conflict may influence vigilance of face processing, including recognition abilities. This interpretation resonates with research showing that family conflict influences face emotion perception (Gollier-Briant et al, 2016). This research also adds to the literature evaluating whether FR predicts differences in social competence or social competence predicts FR.


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