Judging Normality and Attractiveness in Faces: Direct Evidence of a More Refined Representation for Own-Race, Young Adult Faces
Short, Lindsey A.
Chan, Harmonie S. J.
Mondloch, Catherine J.
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Young and older adults are more sensitive to deviations from normality in young than older adult faces, suggesting that the dimensions of face space are optimized for young adult faces. Here, we extend these findings to own-race faces and provide converging evidence using an attractiveness rating task. In Experiment 1, Caucasian and Chinese adults were shown own- and other-race face pairs; one member was undistorted and the other had compressed or expanded features. Participants indicated which member of each pair was more normal (a task that requires referencing a norm) and which was more expanded (a task that simply requires discrimination). Participants showed an own-race advantage in the normality task but not the discrimination task. In Experiment 2, participants rated the facial attractiveness of own- and other-race faces (Experiment 2a) or young and older adult faces (Experiment 2b). Between-rater variability in ratings of individual faces was higher for other-race and older adult faces; reduced consensus in attractiveness judgments reflects a less refined face space. Collectively, these results provide direct evidence that the dimensions of face space are optimized for own-race and young adult faces, which may underlie face race- and age-based deficits in recognition. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]