01 May 2007

Grant success for Olivier Pascalis

Congratulations to Olivier on two successful ESRC awards. First, Michelle Heron has been awarded a post-doctoral fellowship ('Knowledge of the human body shape in early childhood') starting 1st of May 2007. Second, Oli is PI on a grant for £115,000 entitled "Development of face processing during childhood: a new look using the after effect." His collaborators are Lisa DeBruine and Ben Jones from Aberdeen University. The abstract of the research is below:


Face perception starts to develop very early in life and faces provide an early channel of communication between infant and caretaker prior to the onset of language. However, several aspects of face processing continue to develop during childhood and the adult pattern of recognition for faces appears relatively late in development. Sex-categorisation is a critical aspect of face perception and has been well-studied in adults, with studies typically finding that the ability to classify the sex of adult faces is easy. It is agreed that faces are coded relative to an ‘average’ face or ‘prototype’. Johnston et al. (1997) suggested that adults process both male and female faces relative to a single prototype. DeBruine & Jones (2005) demonstrated, however, that it is possible to simultaneously induce face after effects in opposite directions for male and female faces, suggesting that different prototypes code male and female (i.e. that there are separate male and female prototypes). It is necessary to determine at what age does sex-categorisation of faces emerge as little is known about the development of categorical face perception and if experience is changing categorisation ability. We propose to systematically investigate the role of experience in the development of sex-categorisation of faces.