With C. Mondloch, J. de Jong, and H. Chan. In The British Journal of Psychology 110, no. 4 (2019): pp. 652-669
Adults’ face processing may be specialized for the dimensions of young adult faces. For example, young and older adults exhibit increased accuracy in normality judgments and greater agreement in attractiveness ratings for young versus older adult faces. The present study was designed to examine whether there is a similar young adult face bias in facial age estimates. In Experiment 1, we created a face age continuum by morphing an averaged young adult face with an averaged older adult face in 5% increments, for a total of 21 faces ranging from 0 to 100% old. Young and older adults estimated facial age for three stimulus age categories [young (morphs 0-30%), middle-aged (morphs 35-65%), and older adult (morphs 70-100%)]. Both age groups showed the least differentiation in age estimates for young adult faces, despite showing greater consensus across participants in estimates for young faces. In Experiment 2, young and older adults made age estimates for individual young and older adult identities. Both age groups were more accurate and showed greater consensus in age estimates for young faces. Collectively, these results provide evidence for a bias in processing young adult faces beyond that which is often observed in recognition and normality/attractiveness judgment tasks.