Keywords: Face recognition, face age, experience, inversion effect, configural processing
The present study is aimed at testing the role of experience in recognition of faces of different ages. By comparing recognition performance for adult and newborn faces, both presented upright and inverted, in a group of maternity-ward nurses and a control group of novice participants, the current study provides evidence for an experience- based interpretation of the "other-age" effect. Novice participants were better at recognizing adult than newborn faces and showed an inversion effect for adult faces. The nurses manifested an inversion cost of equal magnitude for both adult and newborn faces, and a smaller other-age effect in comparison to the novice participants. The results indicate that experience acquired exclusively in adulthood is capable of modulating the other-age effect, and suggest that the visual processes involved in face recognition are still plastic in adulthood.