Orientation effects support specialist processing of upright unfamiliar faces in children and adults

Ewing, Louise ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5263-1267, Mares, Inês, Edwards, S. Gareth and Smith, Marie L. (2023) Orientation effects support specialist processing of upright unfamiliar faces in children and adults. Developmental Psychology, 59 (6). 1109–1115. ISSN 0012-1649

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It is considerably harder to generalize identity across different pictures of unfamiliar faces, compared with familiar faces. This finding hints strongly at qualitatively distinct processing of unfamiliar face stimuli—for which we have less expertise. Yet, the extent to which face selective versus generic visual processes drive outcomes during this task has yet to be determined. To explore the relative contributions of each, we contrasted performance on a version of the popular Telling Faces Together unfamiliar face matching task, implemented in both upright and inverted orientations. Furthermore, we included different age groups (132 British children ages 6 to 11 years [69.7% White], plus 37 British White adults) to investigate how participants’ experience with faces as a category influences their selective utilization of specialized processes for unfamiliar faces. Results revealed that unfamiliar face matching is highly orientation-selective. Accuracy was higher for upright compared with inverted faces from 6 years of age, which is consistent with selective utilization of specialized processes for upright versus inverted unfamiliar faces during this task. The effect of stimulus orientation did not interact significantly with age, and there was no graded increase in the magnitude of inversion effects observed across childhood. Still, a numerically larger inversion effect in adults compared to children provides a degree of support for developmental changes in these specialized face abilities with increasing age/experience. Differences in the pattern of errors across age groups are also consistent with a qualitative shift in unfamiliar face processing that occurs some time after 11 years of age

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This research was supported by funds from the Leverhulme Trust awarded to Marie L. Smith and Louise Ewing (RPG-2016-021). Data availability: Data supporting these findings are available in the Open Science Framework (https://osf.io/8qbv7)
Uncontrolled Keywords: developmental psychology,expertise,face perception,orientation effects,unfamiliar face processing,demography,developmental and educational psychology,life-span and life-course studies ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3317
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Social Cognition Research Group
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Cognition, Action and Perception
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2022 15:30
Last Modified: 18 May 2023 15:32
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/86845
DOI: 10.1037/dev0001454


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