The Ability of Face Viewpoint Transformation Remains Immature at Age of 12: Evidence from Recognition of Faces with Different Familiarity in Children

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Children are immature in face recognition, particularly in face configural decoding. This study examines the developmental difference of face recognition in another mechanism: viewpoint transformation processing. Adults and sixth-grade children were instructed to match a series of one-tone black face silhouettes to their corresponding front-view faces. This task involves sophisticated calculation in pictorial information, precise viewpoint transformation, and most probably a 3-D face representation. The results showed that although the performances were well above chance level in the recognition of familiar faces, for children, they were at chance level in the recognition of unfamiliar faces. The results indicate that children, at least to the age of about 12 years, are still immature in the processing of face viewpoint transformation compared to adults.

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