Adults have been shown to perform better when recognizing adult faces in comparison to their performance when recognizing faces of different ages, resulting in an other-age effect (OAE) that resembles the well-known other-race effect (ORE). Both the OAE and ORE have been proposed to be experience dependent. In the current study, we used the composite-face paradigm with adult- and child-face stimuli to test holistic processing abilities of two groups of participants, a group of child novices and a group of preschool teachers. Our results demonstrate that novices do engage in holistic processing with both child and adult faces. However, the data also show that, for child faces, teachers used holistic processing to a greater extent than do novices. Moreover, teachers also engaged in holistic processing to a greater extent with child faces than with adult faces. These data suggest that experience likely plays a critical role in tuning holistic processing strategies towards specific types of faces.
Kuefner, D., MACCHI CASSIA, V., Vescovo, E., Picozzi, M. (2010). Natural experience acquired in adulthood enhances holistic processing of other-age faces. VISUAL COGNITION, 18(1), 11-25 [10.1080/13506280802396507].