Differential attentional allocation and subsequent recognition for young and older adult faces
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AbstractStudies examining own-age recognition biases report inconsistent results and often utilize paradigms that present faces individually and in isolation. We investigated young and older adults' attention towards young and older faces during learning and whether differential attention influences recognition. Participants viewed complex scenes while their eye movements were recorded; each scene contained two young and two older faces. Half of the participants formed scene impressions and half prepared for a memory test. Participants then completed an old/new face recognition task. Both age groups looked longer at young than older faces; however, only young adults showed an own-age recognition advantage. Participants in the memory condition looked longer at faces but did not show enhanced recognition relative to the impressions condition. Overall, attention during learning did not influence recognition. Our results provide evidence for a young adult face bias in attentional allocation but suggest that longer looking does not necessarily indicate deeper encoding.