The Other Age Effect

Brief description

This research study examines how we process faces. We are particularly interested in learning more about the ability to distinguish between faces of different ages, and how varying degrees of experience with same-age and other-age faces may impact brain development throughout the lifespan.

Eligibility for study participation

  • Toddlers: 3 years 2 months old to 3 years 8 months old
    • Born within 2 weeks of due date

*All adult participants must be right-handed, have normal (or corrected-to-normal) vision, and have no history of neurological trauma or developmental delay.

Participation Details:

If you decide to participate in this study, you will be asked to visit our laboratory for one, 1-1/4 hour session. Parents will be with their child at all times. The session will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you.

Research Contact:

Eliza Congdon

Full Description

The primary goal of this study is to examine how experience contributes to the development and neural bases of face processing. The overarching hypothesis is that experience with faces recruits specific neural circuits that become specialized for processing faces. We are exploring a specific model of how experience influences the development of face processing, also known as perceptual narrowing. A series of studies is outlined in a larger NIMH-funded project that examines how the timing, amount, and duration of different types of experience influence the development and neural bases of face processing. This study aims to further our understanding as to how the ability to recognize faces of different ages is influenced by experience viewing such faces. The premise underlying this study, as well as the larger project, is that the perceptual window through which faces are viewed is broadly tuned at birth, and narrows with experience.

This study is employing both electrophysiological (event-related potentials) and behavioral (eye-tracking) measures. We are testing 6-month-old infants, 3- & 4-year-old children, and adults. Children and adults with varying degrees of experience viewing newborn faces are specifically being sought for participation: children with and without younger siblings, adults who have extensive experience viewing newborn faces (nurses working in a newborn nursery, daycare providers, and parents with a children under one year of age), as well as adults without in-depth experience viewing infant faces. We will be testing the hypothesis that the ability to recognize newborn and adult faces is modulated by the amount of experience one has accumulated with these types of faces.