MATCHING FACES BY EXPRESSION AND IDENTITY IN 6-TO 9-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN
The research questions addressed are: 1. Do children tend to match unfamiliar faces by face expression or by identity, and 2. Is this tendency age-related? A total of 60 school pupils of both sexes, aged 6 to 9 years, participated in the experiment. Photograph triads were presented to participants, one at a time. Two of the three photographs showed two different people (A and B) with the same emotional expression, while the third was the same as person A with a neutral facial expression. Participants were requested to match photographs and to choose the odd one out. Children aged 6 to 7 years tended to match faces by facial expression, while 8 to 9 year olds tended to match faces by identity. Presumably preference to match faces rather by identity than by facial expression in older children may be ascribed to the age-related development of the ability to attend selectively to face identity, without paying attention to emotional facial expression. As for the biological significance of this phenomenon, development of the ability to identify people is suggested to increase in importance with age in parallel to the increase in the level of socialization and contacts with larger community.
Ekaterine Atanelishvili, Anano Babukhadia, Teimuraz Bezhiashvili, Ekaterine Burkiashvili, Teona Gubianuri, Salome Jorbenadze, Nino Khonelia, Sophio Komakhidze, Malkhaz Makashvili.