Sex categorization of faces : the effects of age and experience

Hillairet de Boisferon, Anne and Dupierrix, Eve and Uttley, Lesley and DeBruine, Lisa M. and Jones, Benedict C. and Pascalis, Olivier (2019) Sex categorization of faces : the effects of age and experience. i-Perception, 10 (1). pp. 1-13. ISSN 0301-0066

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    Abstract

    The face own-age bias effect refers to the better ability to recognize the face from one's own age compared with other age groups. Here we examined whether an own-age advantage occurs for faces sex categorization. We examined 7- and 9-year-olds' and adults' ability to correctly categorize the sex of 7- and 9-year-olds and adult faces without external cues, such as hair. Results indicated that all ages easily classify the sex of adult faces. They succeeded in classifying the sex of child faces, but their performance was poorer than for adult faces. In adults, processing time increased, and a response bias (male response) was elicited for child faces. In children, response times remained constant, and no bias was observed. Experience with specific category of faces seems to offer some advantage in speed of processing. Overall, sex categorization is more challenging for child than for adult faces due to their reduced sexual dimorphic facial characteristics.