Children's perception of the Thatcher illusion: Evidence for development in configural face processing

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The present study reports the ability of young children to detect the Thatcher illusion. Participants were asked to detect the "unusual" face in a two-alternative forced-choice version of the Thatcher illusion with greyscale (Experiment 1) and monochrome "Mooney" face images (Experiment 2). The results of Experiment 1 showed that all groups of children could see the Thatcher illusion. When processing demands were increased (Experiment 2) sensitivity to the Thatcher task increased with age and was absent for 6-year-olds. The results are discussed in terms of differential task demands determining whether evidence for or against the development of configural face processing is found.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Visual Cognition, University of Southampton, UK 2: Centre for Research into Psychological Development, University of Southampton, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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