The effects of prior exposure on face processing

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The effects of prior exposure on face processing

Heisz and Ryan found age-related differences in the total fixation number and in the inner feature viewing. As predicted, over time, younger adults had fewer fixations on non-famous faces presented, whereas the older adults did not show this reduction of fixations. This indicates that older adults might have problems establishing new facial representation. The younger adults also showed increased fixations in eyes of the faces and reduced fixations in mouths of the faces, whereas these behaviors were not shown in older adults. This finding suggested that older and younger adults may view faces in different ways.

Older adults have been discovered to have difficulties in efficiently encoding novel facial representations compare to younger adults. In this study, Heisz and Ryan examined the extent of age-related differences in face processing. They monitored the eye movements of older and younger adults while these participants looked at non-famous and famous faces on a screen for several trials.

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The effects of prior exposure on face processing in younger and older adults

Eye movements extract new information during visual information processing and evaluating. More fixations of eye movements will be located at spots containing novel information. As the information becomes familiar through multiple viewings, the number of eye fixations at that location will decrease, since information processing becomes more efficient.

Eye Movement Monitoring

Facial Representation



The researchers hypothesized that while younger adults would encode novel facial representations efficiently, older adults might have difficulties encoding new facial representations. However, the older adults’ ability to efficiently recognize famous faces, which are facial representations encoded long ago, would be intact.

ReferencesImage: Human composed of gears: Eye tracking device: Eye with fixation on pupil: Man with facial fixations: Woman with an altered face upside down: Man (in black and white): What is aging?: How we make memories?: of the original article: of eye movement monitoring: of facial recognition:

Visual Fixation


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