The aim of the study was whether there
was an age bias when remembering faces. The hypothesis was that younger people
will remember younger faces more accurately and that the reaction time for
clicking a response would also be faster for younger faces (the same age group).
The results of this experiment were that on average, more people recognised
younger faces more accurately than they did older faces, this supports the
hypothesis. The results also showed that the response time for answering the
questions for older faces was faster than for answering the questions for
younger faces meaning that this doesn’t prove the second part to the
However these findings do not
correspond with another study by (Anastasi and Rhodes, 2006), found younger
adults displayed no age bias when recognising faces, this disproves the findings
due to saying that younger faces are not more likely to accurately recall
younger faces. However their study proved that there was some age bias present
within older people proving that age bias exists and therefore the study by
Anastasi and Rhodes does not completely disprove the hypothesis.
The theoretical implications of this
study are that the findings can be used to further our knowledge on the topic
of facial recognition and can help to support the society and the people
within. An example of this is a clinical implication as the findings could help
people with memory illnesses such as Alzheimers and Dementia as it can help
researchers and health professionals to consider using facial awareness as a
method of helping treat the illness.
There were several methodological implications
and limitations during the study, E-prime was very useful as it a piece of
software for facial recognition which participants could use without training
meaning it was time-efficient. However the contact between participants was not
controlled due to participants being able to sit next to each other, this means
they could have been influenced while responding. Due to the opportunity
sampling there is also gender bias due to the participants being mainly female
which can affect the reliability of the results. A similar study by (Shaw and
Skolnick, 1994) also proved that gender bias can play a part in identifying
people helping to verify that gender bias could be a confounding variable.
Participants could also have influenced on recalling faces based on
attractiveness and whether they had any distinctive features such as a particularly
large nose, this is an extraneous variable.
Future research can be influenced by
this study by ensuring they use stratified sampling to ensure the
are representative of the population which will mean their results are
more generalisable. They may also take into account the ease and
usefulness of e-prime and use it for their own study due to the success
using it previously.
To conclude, the findings support the hypothesis
in that age bias exists and can play a part in facial recognition. The study
did not support the second half of the hypothesis due to reaction time not
being faster for faces who were of similar age. Hitherto the findings can be
useful in some situations and future research, for instance, clinically the
findings could help sufferers of Prosopagnosia
(facial blindness) as it can suggest a method for them to try and cure it.Reference list
Anastasi, J. and Rhodes, M. (2006). An own-age bias in face recognition
for children and older adults. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12(6),
Shaw, J. and Skolnick, P. (1994). Sex Differences, Weapon Focus, and
Eyewitness Reliability. The Journal of Social Psychology, 134(4), pp.413-420.