Exploring children’s face-space: A multidimensional scaling analysis of the mental representation of facial identity
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We explored differences in the mental representation of facial identity between 8-year-olds and adults. The 8-year-olds and adults made similarity judgments of a homogeneous set of faces (individual hair cues removed) using an "odd-man-out" paradigm. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) analyses were performed to represent perceived similarity of faces in a multidimensional space. Five dimensions accounted optimally for the judgments of both children and adults, with similar local clustering of faces. However, the fit of the MDS solutions was better for adults, in part because children's responses were more variable. More children relied predominantly on a single dimension, namely eye color, whereas adults appeared to use multiple dimensions for each judgment. The pattern of findings suggests that children's mental representation of faces has a structure similar to that of adults but that children's judgments are influenced less consistently by that overall structure.
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