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CCN Brown Bag Series

Wednesday, February 06, 2019,

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  • Location: Wilson Hall • 111 21St Ave S • Nashville, TN 37240
  • Room: 115

Isabel Gauthier, PhD

Department of Psychology

Vanderbilt University

"Hometown population density as a proxy for early experience with faces and cars"


Evidence suggests that face and object recognition ability are highly heritable, but we also know that domain-specific experience is an important determinant of visual recognition performance. Training studies and studies of expertise in real world domains like cars, birds or fingerprints have characterized many of the effects of such experience. In the domain of face recognition, most of us have a lot of experience with faces and its effect can be difficult to study, outside of measuring relative performance with sub-categories of faces (toy faces, faces from other race or age group). Recent work reported that people from small hometowns show relatively poor face recognition ability on the Cambridge Face Memory Test. I will report on a study in which we replicated this finding and extended it by using other measures of face and object recognition. We also measured whether early experience influences specialization of face and car recognition abilities relative to that of other categories. If there is enough time, I will discuss more recent replication efforts.