• 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]
    • Sex hormones play a role in vulnerability to sleep loss on emotion processing tasks

      Lustig, K. A.; Stoakley, E. M.; MacDonald, K. J.; Geniole, S. N.; McCormick, C. M.; Cote, K. A. (Elsevier, 2017-10-06)
      The central aim of this study was to investigate hormones as a predictor of individual vulnerability or resiliency on emotion processing tasks following one night of sleep restriction. The restriction group was instructed to sleep 3 a.m.–7 a.m. (13 men, 13 women in follicular phase, 10 women in luteal phase of menstrual cycle), and a control group slept 11 p.m.–7 a.m. (12 men, 12 follicular women, 12 luteal women). Sleep from home was verified with actigraphy. Saliva samples were collected on the evening prior to restriction, and in the morning and afternoon following restriction, to measure testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone. In the laboratory, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded during presentation of images and faces to index neural processing of emotional stimuli. Compared to controls, sleep-restricted participants had a larger amplitude Late Positive Potential (LPP) ERP to positive vs neutral images, reflecting greater motivated attention towards positive stimuli. Sleep-restricted participants were also less accurate categorizing sad faces and exhibited a larger N170 to sad faces, reflecting greater neural reactivity. Sleep-restricted luteal women were less accurate categorizing all images compared to control luteal women, and progesterone was related to several outcomes. Morning testos- terone in men was lower in the sleep-restricted group compared to controls; lower testosterone was associated with lower accuracy to positive images, a greater difference between positive vs neutral LPP amplitude, and lower accuracy to sad and fearful faces. In summary, women higher in progesterone and men lower in testos- terone were more vulnerable to the effects of sleep restriction on emotion processing tasks. This study highlights a role for sex and sex hormones in understanding individual differences in vulnerability to sleep loss.
    • That's my teacher! Children's ability to recognize personally familiar and unfamiliar faces improves with age

      Laurence, Sarah; Mondloch, Catherine J. (Elsevier Ltd, 2016-03)
      Highlights •Tested children’s ability to recognize faces across natural variation in appearance.•4- to 12-year-olds were asked to find all the images of an identity.•Performance was (nearly) perfect by 6years for familiar identities.•Performance improved across the entire age range for unfamiliar identities.•Findings have implications for models of the development of face perception.
    • Transitions in Executive Function: Insights From Developmental Parallels Between Prospective Memory and Cognitive Flexibility

      Mahy, Caitlin; Munakata, Yoko (Wiley, 2015)
      As children develop, they need to remember to carry out their intentions and overcome habits to switch flexibly to new ways of behaving. Developments in these domains—prospective memory and cognitive flexibility—are essential for children to function and predict important outcomes. Prospective memory and cognitive flexibility are similar in the psychological processes proposed to support them (particularly executive functions), in how they are measured, and in the behavioral transitions observed (e.g., dissociations between actions and intentions, and nonlinear developmental trajectories). In this article, we highlight how such parallels can inform debates about the specific executive functions and types of developments that support prospective memory, cognitive flexibility, and related future‐oriented abilities, and can deepen understanding of executive function development more generally.
    • 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.