• Aging Faces and Aging Perceivers: Young and Older Adults are Less Sensitive to Deviations from Normality in Older than in Young Adult Faces

      Short, Lindsey A.; Mondloch, Catherine J. (Sage, 2013)
      Past studies examining the other-age effect, the phenomenon in which own-age faces are recognized more accurately than other-age faces, are limited in number and report inconsistent results. Here we examine whether the perceptual system is preferentially tuned to differences among young adult faces. In experiment 1 young (18-25 years) and older adult (63-87 years) participants were shown young and older face pairs in which one member of each pair was undistorted and the other had compressed or expanded features. Participants indicated which member of each pair was more normal and which was more expanded. Both age groups were more accurate when tested with young compared with older faces -- but only when judging normality. In experiment 2 we tested a separate group of young adults on the same two tasks but with upright and inverted face pairs to examine the differential pattern of results between the normality and discrimination tasks. Inversion impaired performance on the normality task but not the discrimination task and eliminated the young adult advantage in the normality task. Collectively, these results suggest that the face processing system is optimized for young adult faces and that abundant experience with older faces later in life does not reverse this perceptual tuning. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Category-specific face prototypes are emerging, but not yet mature, in 5-year-old children

      Short, Lindsey A.; Lee, Kang; Genyue, Fu; Mondloch, Catherine J. (Elsevier Ltd, 2014-10)
      Adults’ expertise in face recognition has been attributed to norm-based coding. Moreover, adults possess separable norms for a vari-ety of face categories (e.g., race, sex, age) that appear to enhancerecognition by reducing redundancy in the information shared byfaces and ensuring that only relevant dimensions are used toencode faces from a given category. Although 5-year-old childrenprocess own-race faces using norm-based coding, little is knownabout the organization and refinement of their face space. The cur-rent study investigated whether 5-year-olds rely on category-spe-cific norms and whether experience facilitates the development ofdissociable face prototypes. In Experiment 1, we examinedwhether Chinese 5-year-olds show race-contingent opposing after-effects and the extent to which aftereffects transfer across face raceamong Caucasian and Chinese 5-year-olds. Both participant racesshowed partial transfer of aftereffects across face race; however,there was no evidence for race-contingent opposing aftereffects.To examine whether experience facilitates the development of cat-egory-specific prototypes, we investigated whether race-contin-gent aftereffects are present among Caucasian 5-year-olds withabundant exposure to Chinese faces (Experiment 2) and thentested separate groups of 5-year-olds with two other categorieswith which they have considerable experience: sex (male/femalefaces) and age (adult/child faces) (Experiment 3). Across all threecategories, 5-year-olds showed no category-contingent opposingaftereffects. These results demonstrate that 5 years of age is a stagecharacterized by minimal separation in the norms and associated oding dimensions used for faces from different categories andsuggest that refinement of the mechanisms that underlie expertface processing occurs throughout childhood.
    • Differential attentional allocation and subsequent recognition for young and older adult faces

      Short, Lindsey A.; Semplonius, Thalia; Proletti, Valentina; Mondloch, Catherine J. (Taylor & Francis, 2014-10)
      Studies 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.
    • Judging Normality and Attractiveness in Faces: Direct Evidence of a More Refined Representation for Own-Race, Young Adult Faces

      Zhou, Xiaomei; Short, Lindsey A.; Chan, Harmonie S. J.; Mondloch, Catherine J. (Sage Publications, 2016-09)
      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]
    • Representing young and older adult faces: Shared or age-specific prototypes?

      Short, Lindsey A.; Proletti, Valentina; Mondloch, Catherine J. (Taylor & Francis, 2015-09)
      Young adults recognize young adult faces more accurately than older adult faces and are more sensitive to how individual young faces deviate from a norm/prototype. Here we used an adaptation paradigm to examine whether young and older adult faces are represented by separable norms and the extent to which the coding dimensions for these two categories overlap. In Experiment 1, following adaptation to oppositely distorted young and older faces (e.g., expanded young and compressed older faces), adults’ normality judgments simultaneously shifted in opposite directions for the two face categories, providing evidence for separable norms. In Experiment 2, participants were adapted to distorted faces from a single age category (e.g., compressed young); aftereffects transferred across face age but were larger for the face age that matched adaptation. Collectively, these results provide evidence that young and older faces are processed with regard to separable norms that share some underlying coding dimensions. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Wide eyes and drooping arms: Adult-like congruency effects emerge early in the development of sensitivity to emotional faces and body postures

      Mondloch, Catherine J.; Horner, Matthew; Mian, Jasmine (Elsevier Inc, 2013-02)
      Adults’ and 8-year-old children’s perception of emotional faces is disrupted when faces are presented in the context of incongruent body postures (e.g., when a sad face is displayed on a fearful body) if the two emotions are highly similar (e.g., sad/fear) but not if they are highly dissimilar (e.g., sad/happy). The current research investigated the emergence of this adult-like pattern. Using a sorting task, we identified the youngest age at which children could accurately sort isolated facial expressions and body postures and then measured whether their accuracy was impaired in the incongruent condition. Among the child participants, 6-year-olds showed congruency effects for sad/fear, but even 4-year-olds did not do so for sad/happy. Early emergence of this adult-like pattern is consistent with the dimensional and emotional seed models of emotion perception, although future research is needed to test the relative validity of these two models. Testing children with emotional faces presented in the context of body postures and background scenes is an important step toward understanding how they perceive emotions on a daily basis.