Recognizing the Face of Johnny, Suzy, and Me: Insensitivity to the Spacing Among Features at 4 Years of Age
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Four-year-olds were tested for their ability to use differences in the spacing among features to recognize familiar faces. They were given a storybook depicting multiple views of 2 children. They returned to the laboratory 2 weeks later and used a "magic wand" to play a computer game that tested their ability to recognize the familiarized faces and their own face based on the spacing of features. Children performed at chance levels. Follow-up studies confirmed that they had attended to internal facial features and validated the stimuli. The results contrast with studies showing some sensitivity to the spacing of features in infants and preschool children; multiple mechanisms of face processing may make use of spatial relations and develop at different rates.
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