Perceptual information for the age level of faces as a higher order invariant of growth

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Previous work supports the hypothesis that cardioidal strain, a nonlinear topological transformation, offers a plausible mathematical model for the perceived global changes in human craniofacial morphology due to growth. Exp I with 60 undergraduates examined the generality of the effect of this growth transformation on relative age judgments by applying it to profiles of a dog, bird, and monkey. Exp II with 60 undergraduates investigated abstractness of this transformation by looking at its effect on perceived age level of a Volkswagen “Beetle.” In both experiments, cardioidal strain resulted in changes in the perceived age of the nonhuman profiles that were similar to those produced on human faces in earlier work. A 2nd transformation, affine shear, failed to produce as significant an effect on perceived age as cardioidal strain when applied to the same structures. Because cardioidal strain produced changes in structures that do not share an isomorphism of rigid (Euclidian) local features or rigid feature configurations, this transformation seems both sufficiently general and abstract to specify what J. J. Gibson (1966) has called a “higher-order invariant of perceptual information.” (14 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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