Transfer of figural face aftereffects suggests mature orientation selectivity in 8-year-olds' face coding

Linda Jeffery, Libby Taylor, Gillian Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adult face perception mechanisms are tuned to upright faces, and this orientation selectivity is central to adult expertise with upright faces. Children are less expert than adults, and it has been argued that their face mechanisms are less orientation selective than those of adults. Here we used face aftereffects to test this hypothesis by examining whether children's aftereffects show greater transfer across changes in orientation than do adults' aftereffects. We adapted 7- to 8-year-old children and adults to figural face distortions in both upright and inverted orientations and examined the size of resulting aftereffects in both upright and inverted test faces. If children's face mechanisms are less orientation selective than those of adults, then children's aftereffects should transfer more strongly across changes in orientation. We found no evidence to support this prediction. Children's and adults' aftereffects were similarly reduced by orientation differences between adapt and test. These results indicate that children, like adults, show a high degree of orientation selectivity in face shape coding and suggest that neural tuning to face orientation may be mature by 8. years of age. Our findings are consistent with an emerging view that many of the key attributes of specialized face perception emerge much earlier in development than previously thought. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-244
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume126
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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