• Investigating opposing aftereffects in 8-year-olds and adults

      Hatry, Alexandra.; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2009-01-28)
      Previous studies have shown that adults and 8-year-olds process faces using norm-based coding and that prolonged exposure to one kind of facial distortion (e.g., compressed features) temporarily shifts the prototype, a process called adaptation, making similarly distorted faces appear more attractive (Anzures et aI., 2009; Valentine, 1999; Webster & MacLin, 1999). Aftereffects provide evidence that our prototype is continually updated by experience. When adults are adapted to two face categories (e.g., Caucasian and Chinese; male and female) distorted in opposing directions (e.g., expanded vs. compressed), their attractiveness ratings shift in opposite directions (Bestelmeyer et aI., 2008; Jaquet et aI., 2007), indicating that adults have dissociable prototypes for some face categories. I created a novel meth04 to investigate whether children show opposing aftereffects. Children and adults were adapted to Caucasian and Chinese faces distorted in opposite directions in the context of a computerized storybook. When testing adults to validate my method, I discovered that opposing aftereffects are contingent on how participants categorize faces and that this categorization is dependent on the context in which adapting stimuli are presented. Opposing aftereffects for Caucasian and Chinese faces were evident when the salience of race was exaggerated by presenting faces in the context of racially segregated birthday parties; expanded faces selected as most normal more often for the race of face that was expanded during adaptation than for the race of face that was compressed. However, opposing aftereffects were not evident when members of the two groups were presented engaging in cooperative social interactions at a racially integrated birthday party. Using the storybook that emphasized face race I 11 provide the first evidence that 8-year-olds demonstrate opposing aftereffects for two face categories defined by race, both when judging face normality and when rating attractiveness.
    • Other-race faces : limitations of expert face recognition /

      Elms, Natalie M.; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      Adults' expert face recognition is limited to the kinds of faces they encounter on a daily basis (typically upright human faces of the same race). Adults process own-race faces holistically (Le., as a gestalt) and are exquisitely sensitive to small differences among faces in the spacing of features, the shape of individual features and the outline or contour of the face (Maurer, Le Grand, & Mondloch, 2002), however this expertise does not seem to extend to faces from other races. The goal of the current study was to investigate the extent to which the mechanisms that underlie expert face processing of own-race faces extend to other-race faces. Participants from rural Pennsylvania that had minimal exposure to other-race faces were tested on a battery of tasks. They were tested on a memory task, two measures of holistic processing (the composite task and the part/whole task), two measures of spatial and featural processing (the JanelLing task and the scrambledlblurred faces task) and a test of contour processing (JanelLing task) for both own-and other-race faces. No study to date has tested the same participants on all of these tasks. Participants had minimal experience with other-race faces; they had no Chinese family members, friends or had ever traveled to an Asian country. Results from the memory task did not reveal an other-race effect. In the present study, participants also demonstrated holistic processing of both own- and other-race faces on both the composite task and the part/whole task. These findings contradict previous findings that Caucasian adults process own-race faces more holistically than other-race faces. However participants did demonstrate an own-race advantage for processing the spacing among features, consistent with two recent studies that used different manipulations of spacing cues (Hayward et al. 2007; Rhodes et al. 2006). They also demonstrated an other-race effect for the processing of individual features for the Jane/Ling task (a direct measure of featural processing) consistent with previous findings (Rhodes, Hayward, & Winkler, 2006), but not for the scrambled faces task (an indirect measure offeatural processing). There was no own-race advantage for contour processing. Thus, these results lead to the conclusion that individuals may show less sensitivity to the appearance of individual features and the spacing among them in other-race faces, despite processing other-race faces holistically.