ERIC Number: ED242426
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Ups and Downs of Face Recognition: A Unique Developmental Trend?
Flin, Rhona H.
Children's ability to recognize unfamiliar faces shows an unusual developmental trend: performance improves from 6 to 11 years, a temporary regression occurs at 12 years, and then recovery leads to adult-level performance. The first study described in this paper tested 80 children 5 to 11 years of age on a face-matching and recognition task. Results showed that age differences in face recognition are a function of encoding ability at acquisition and cannot be attributed to an age-related improvement in recognition or storage skills. Using a sample of 271 children 7 to 16 years old, the second study examined the effect of orientation on face recognition and found an inversion effect for children under 10 years and a significant improvement in performance for both upright and inverted faces. This finding updates earlier results and indicates the following: (1) general pattern encoding skills contribute to the recognition of upright faces; and (2) young children's face encoding is orientation-sensitive. Using a sample of 142 children from primary 3, 6, and 7 classes and senior 1, 2, and 4 classes, the third study assessed the generality of the unusual regression at 12 years and found that a similar "dip" in performance also occurs for children's recognition of pictures of houses. These data suggest that children's recognition of faces and pictures may be essentially similar processes. The finding of a dip in children's picture recognition adds to a growing catalog of similar developmental regressions. Possible explanations for this temporary loss of ability are discussed. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Acquisiton Behavior; Developmental Patterns; Facial Characteristics; Scotland
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Detroit, MI, April 21-24, 1983).