An Own-Age Bias in Mixed- and Pure-List Presentations: No Evidence for the Social-Cognitive Account

Sophie L. Cronin, Belinda M. Craig, Ottmar V. Lipp

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Identity recognition of unfamiliar faces tends to be biased by face age, such that own-age faces are better recognised than other-age faces. This own-age bias (OAB) has been suggested to be caused by perceptual-expertise and/or social-cognitive mechanisms. An experiment by Bryce and Dodson (2013, Exp 2) provided support for the social-cognitive account, demonstrating an OAB in a mixed- but not pure-list presentation of faces. When participants encountered a mixed-list of both own- and other-age faces at encoding, the OAB was observed. However, when recognition performance was compared between-participants who viewed a pure-list of only own- or other-age faces the OAB was absent. Own-age faces were recognised better in the mixed-list compared to pure-list condition. Bryce and Dodson (2013) argue their data support a social-cognitive account of the OAB wherein unless age categories are made salient by viewing more than one age group, own-age/other-age categorisation does not occur, own-age face recognition is not facilitated, and an OAB is not produced. The present study aimed to replicate this finding and examine its robustness in paradigms including different components of the original. Across three experiments that removed theoretically irrelevant components of the original old/new recognition paradigm, varied face sex, and included stereotypical background scenes, Bryce and Dodson’s (2013) results were not replicated. Under both mixed-list and pure-list conditions, the OAB emerged. These results are more consistent with a perceptual-expertise account than a social-cognitive account of the OAB, but may suggest that manipulating age category salience using mixed- and pure-list presentations is not strong enough to alter own-age/other-age categorisation processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number152c.
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


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