Harrison, Virginia and Hole, Graham J.
Evidence for a contact-based explanation of the own-age bias in face recognition.
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16(2) pp. 264–269.
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Previous research has shown that we recognize faces similar in age to ourselves better than older or younger faces (e.g., Wright & Stroud, 2002). This study investigated whether this own-age bias could be explained by the contact hypothesis used to account for the own-race bias (see Meissner & Brigham, 2001). If the own-age bias stems from increased exposure to people of our own age, it should be reduced or absent in those with higher exposure to other age groups. Participants were asked to remember facial photographs of 8- to 11- and 20- to 25-year-olds. Undergraduates were faster and more accurate at recognizing faces of their own age. However, trainee teachers showed no such own-age bias; they recognized the children’s faces more quickly than own-age faces and with comparable accuracy. These results support a contact-based explanation of the own-age bias.
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