Lorusso, Ludovica and Brelstaff, Gavin James and Brodo, Linda and Lagorio, Andrea and Grosso, Enrico (2011) Visual judgments of kinship: an alternative perspective. Perception, Vol. 40 (11), p. 1282-1289. eISSN 1468-4233. Article.
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Following other researchers, we investigated the premise that visual judgment of kinship might be modelled as a signal-detection task, strictly related to similar facial features. We measured subjects' response times to face-pair stimuli while they performed visual judgments of kinship, similarity, or dissimilarity, and examined some priming effects involved. Our results show that kinship judgment takes longer on average than either similarity or dissimilarity judgment - which is compatible with existing models, yet might also suggest that kinship judgments are of a more complex character. In our priming study we observed selective suppression/enhancement of the efficacy of dissimilarity judgments whenever they followed similarity and kinship judgments. This finding confounds the notion, inherent in previous models, of resemblance cues signalling for kinship, since similarity and dissimilarity cannot be considered just as opposite concepts, and observed priming effects need to be explicitly modelled, including dissimilarity cues. To model kinship judgments across faces that are perceived as dissimilar, a new framework may be required, perhaps accepting the perspective of a task-driven use of the visual cues, modulated by experience and cultural conditioning.
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