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Holistic Processing of Faces May Underlie Age Differences in Performance on Taiwanese Face Memory Test (TFMT)

23.4101, Saturday, 16-May, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Pavilion
Session: Face Perception: Individual differences

Gary Shyi1,2, Kuan-Hao Cheng1, Ya-Hsin Cheng1, Vicky Chen1; 1Department of Psychology and Center for Research in Cognitive Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, 2Advanced Institute of Manufacturing with High-tech Innovations, National Chung Cheng University

The main goal of the present study was threefold: (a) to establish a test that utilizes face images collected and normed in the Taiwanese society in order to provide a culturally calibrated tool for assessing face memory ability, (b) to examine the relationship between face memory performance and a range of face tasks to reveal underlying processing that may play an important role in face memory, and (c) to investigate the relationship between age differences in face memory performance and those in holistic processing as revealed by the face composite test. To create the Taiwanese face memory test (TFMT), we followed the procedure of Cambridge Face Memory Test (CFMT) (Duchaine & Nakayama, 2006), and used images from the Taiwanese face database (Shyi, Huang, & Yeh, 2013). Like CFMT, TFMT was administered in three stages with increasing difficulty. The results of TFMT from 52 young-adult participants revealed an almost identical pattern reported by Duchaine & Nakayama (2006). We then correlated participants’ performance on TFMT with their performances on three face tasks tapping component, configural, and holistic processing of faces, respectively. Only performance on the face composite task with a complete design was significantly correlated with that on TFMT, and in particular the latter two stages of TFMT, which tapped memory for face identities rather than mere face images. Finally, while showing an overall inferior performance on TFMT than the young adults, older adults nonetheless exhibited a similar interaction between alignment and congruency effect. More intriguingly, as they progressively aged, older adults were increasingly likely to display a pattern of diminishing holistic processing. Taken together, these findings not only highlights the importance of creating culturally calibrated tool for assessing face memory ability, but also implicates that holistic processing of faces may underlie participants’ performance and in particular age differences on TFMT.

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