Elena Vescovo, Marta Picozzi, Viola Macchi Cassia

Is the inversion effect face specific in 3-year-old children?

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Face recognition, object recognition, development, configural processing, inversion effect.

The present study compared the perceptual strategies used by 3-year-old children to recognize faces and non-face visual objects by testing for the inversion effect for faces and lateral images of shoes (Experiment 1) and frontal images of cars (Experiment 2). Results confirm the presence of the face inversion effect at 3 years, and showed that inversion did not significantly affect recognition performance for shoes or cars. However, for cars, the size of the inversion cost did not differ from the size of the inversion cost for faces. The results suggest that at 3 years of age, children use configural processing to recognize faces and other symmetrical stimuli, which, like faces, share a common first-order configuration.

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