Age-related contextual modulation in face recognition

Felisberti, F M, Wanli, J, Cox, R and Dover, C (2012) Age-related contextual modulation in face recognition. In: ECVP 2012: 35th European Conference on Visual Perception; 02 - 06 Sep 2012, Alghero, Italy. (Unpublished)


Social exchanges rely on efficient recognition of potential cooperators and cheaters. A previous study showed that face recognition can be modulated by the social context during encoding (Felisberti and Pavey, 2010, PLoS One), but possible aging effects are not known. Here behavioural descriptors were tagged to faces in a scenario involving money exchanges during memorization. The three descriptors contained no rules of the social contract and no moral values (cheating, cooperation or neutral behaviours were implicit). Participants (N= 170) had to complete an old/new recognition task. Results showed an increase in false alarms and reaction time with age. Hit rates and sensitivity to faces of ‘cooperators’ were higher than for ‘cheaters’ in both young (<30 years) and old (>55 years) adults. Differences between cooperators and cheaters were attenuated when the person lending money to hypothetical friends changed from an unknown person to the participants themselves, but reaction time was still longer for cheaters. Although seniors might have been exposed to more cheaters in their lifespan, cheaters’ recognition was not significantly better than in young adults, which suggests an age-invariant contextual bias towards prosocial behaviours in face recognition.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page