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Vision Res. 2010 Nov 23;50(23):2570-6. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2010.08.017. Epub 2010 Aug 26.

Young without plastic surgery: perceptual adaptation to the age of female and male faces.

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  • 1DFG Research Unit Person Perception, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany.


Adaptation influences perception not only of simple stimulus qualities such as motion or colour, but also of complex stimuli such as faces. Here we demonstrate contrasting aftereffects of adaptation to facial age. In Experiment 1, participants adapted to either young or old faces, and subsequently estimated the age of morphed test faces with interpolated ages of 30, 40, 50 or 60 years. Following adaptation to old adaptors, test faces were classified as much younger when compared to classifications of the same test faces following adaptation to young faces, which in turn caused subjective test face "aging". These aftereffects were reduced but remained clear even when facial gender changed between adaptor and test faces. In Experiment 2, we induced simultaneous opposite age aftereffects for female and male faces. Overall, these results demonstrate interactions in the perception of facial age and gender, and support dissociable neuronal coding of male and female faces.

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