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A face detection bias for horizontal orientations develops in middle childhood.

Balas BJ, Schmidt J, Saville A - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: Critically, children were presented with face and house images comprised either of primarily horizontal orientation energy, primarily vertical orientation energy, or both horizontal and vertical orientation energy.We designed our categorization task to be sufficiently easy that children would perform at near-ceiling accuracy levels, but with variation in response times that would reflect how they rely on different orientations as a function of age and object category.These results thus suggest that the tuning of high-level recognition to specific low-level visual features takes place over several years of visual development.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Center for Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience, North Dakota State University Fargo, ND, USA.

ABSTRACT
Faces are complex stimuli that can be described via intuitive facial features like the eyes, nose, and mouth, "configural" features like the distances between facial landmarks, and features that correspond to computations performed in the early visual system (e.g., oriented edges). With regard to this latter category of descriptors, adult face recognition relies disproportionately on information in specific spatial frequency and orientation bands: many recognition tasks are performed more accurately when adults have access to mid-range spatial frequencies (8-16 cycles/face) and horizontal orientations (Dakin and Watt, 2009). In the current study, we examined how this information bias develops in middle childhood. We recruited children between the ages of 5-10 years-old to participate in a simple categorization task that required them to label images according to whether they depicted a face or a house. Critically, children were presented with face and house images comprised either of primarily horizontal orientation energy, primarily vertical orientation energy, or both horizontal and vertical orientation energy. We predicted that any bias favoring horizontal information over vertical should be more evident in faces than in houses, and also that older children would be more likely to show such a bias than younger children. We designed our categorization task to be sufficiently easy that children would perform at near-ceiling accuracy levels, but with variation in response times that would reflect how they rely on different orientations as a function of age and object category. We found that horizontal bias for face detection (but not house detection) correlated significantly with age, suggesting an emergent category-specific bias for horizontal orientation energy that develops during middle childhood. These results thus suggest that the tuning of high-level recognition to specific low-level visual features takes place over several years of visual development.

No MeSH data available.


An example trial from our task: participants were asked to categorize the central image by touching the cartoon image at the bottom of the screen that was of the same object category.
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Figure 2: An example trial from our task: participants were asked to categorize the central image by touching the cartoon image at the bottom of the screen that was of the same object category.

Mentions: Participants viewed the stimuli on an 800 × 600 Elo touchscreen display. On each trial, a single image was presented in the center of the display. This image was either a face or a house, filtered either to contain only horizontal orientation energy, only vertical energy, or both orientations. Object category and orientation condition were pseudo-randomized for each participant. Accompanying the central image were two cartoon images of a house and a face that appeared at the bottom of the display offset to the left and right. These images were used as on-screen response buttons for participants to use during the task: to categorize the central image as a face, participants were asked to touch the cartoon face as quickly as possible, and similarly to touch the cartoon house if the central image depicted a house (Figure 2). The left/right position of the cartoon images was pseudorandomized across trials so that participants were required to actively attend to the position of the response items as well as successfully classify the central image. Participants viewed the images from an approximate distance of 30–40 cm, though viewing distance varied according to what was a comfortable reaching distance for participants. Head position and eye movements were not fixed or recorded during testing.


A face detection bias for horizontal orientations develops in middle childhood.

Balas BJ, Schmidt J, Saville A - Front Psychol (2015)

An example trial from our task: participants were asked to categorize the central image by touching the cartoon image at the bottom of the screen that was of the same object category.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4459095&req=5

Figure 2: An example trial from our task: participants were asked to categorize the central image by touching the cartoon image at the bottom of the screen that was of the same object category.
Mentions: Participants viewed the stimuli on an 800 × 600 Elo touchscreen display. On each trial, a single image was presented in the center of the display. This image was either a face or a house, filtered either to contain only horizontal orientation energy, only vertical energy, or both orientations. Object category and orientation condition were pseudo-randomized for each participant. Accompanying the central image were two cartoon images of a house and a face that appeared at the bottom of the display offset to the left and right. These images were used as on-screen response buttons for participants to use during the task: to categorize the central image as a face, participants were asked to touch the cartoon face as quickly as possible, and similarly to touch the cartoon house if the central image depicted a house (Figure 2). The left/right position of the cartoon images was pseudorandomized across trials so that participants were required to actively attend to the position of the response items as well as successfully classify the central image. Participants viewed the images from an approximate distance of 30–40 cm, though viewing distance varied according to what was a comfortable reaching distance for participants. Head position and eye movements were not fixed or recorded during testing.

Bottom Line: Critically, children were presented with face and house images comprised either of primarily horizontal orientation energy, primarily vertical orientation energy, or both horizontal and vertical orientation energy.We designed our categorization task to be sufficiently easy that children would perform at near-ceiling accuracy levels, but with variation in response times that would reflect how they rely on different orientations as a function of age and object category.These results thus suggest that the tuning of high-level recognition to specific low-level visual features takes place over several years of visual development.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Center for Visual and Cognitive Neuroscience, North Dakota State University Fargo, ND, USA.

ABSTRACT
Faces are complex stimuli that can be described via intuitive facial features like the eyes, nose, and mouth, "configural" features like the distances between facial landmarks, and features that correspond to computations performed in the early visual system (e.g., oriented edges). With regard to this latter category of descriptors, adult face recognition relies disproportionately on information in specific spatial frequency and orientation bands: many recognition tasks are performed more accurately when adults have access to mid-range spatial frequencies (8-16 cycles/face) and horizontal orientations (Dakin and Watt, 2009). In the current study, we examined how this information bias develops in middle childhood. We recruited children between the ages of 5-10 years-old to participate in a simple categorization task that required them to label images according to whether they depicted a face or a house. Critically, children were presented with face and house images comprised either of primarily horizontal orientation energy, primarily vertical orientation energy, or both horizontal and vertical orientation energy. We predicted that any bias favoring horizontal information over vertical should be more evident in faces than in houses, and also that older children would be more likely to show such a bias than younger children. We designed our categorization task to be sufficiently easy that children would perform at near-ceiling accuracy levels, but with variation in response times that would reflect how they rely on different orientations as a function of age and object category. We found that horizontal bias for face detection (but not house detection) correlated significantly with age, suggesting an emergent category-specific bias for horizontal orientation energy that develops during middle childhood. These results thus suggest that the tuning of high-level recognition to specific low-level visual features takes place over several years of visual development.

No MeSH data available.