Date of Graduation

Summer 2015


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

D. Wayne Mitchell


perception, attention, visual scanning, configural, featural, high infantile, low infantile, evolutionary, face shape

Subject Categories



Perception and attention play an important role in Visual Scanning (VS) of faces. Research suggests that VS of faces develops in infancy and continues into adulthood. VS has been shown to change throughout development and is thought to transition from processing images featurally to configurally. Further research has shown preference, higher ratings of cuteness, and prolonged looking time at faces with High Infantile characteristics (large head, eyes, and forehead, and a small nose and mouth) versus Low Infantile characteristics. In this research the effect of face shape on VS, assessed via Fixation Count (FC) and Response Latency (RL) on a Delayed Match to Sample task (DMTS) was tested using an adult population. Infant and Adult faces that were in High Infantile vs. Low Infantile face-shape categories were used to assess the effect. I hypothesized that due to the role of feature scanning and processing and subsequent recognition memory in adults, when viewing stimuli that are not as familiar, (infant faces), differences would be more noticeable, resulting in slower RLs and higher Fixation Counts (FC). I also hypothesized that preference for infantile face shape would result in slower RLs when participants were given Low Infantile stimuli versus High Infantile stimuli as the Sample Stimulus to be matched. While no significant differences regarding the hypotheses of the study were found, a significant trials effect regarding RL was found as well as a significant decrease in FC to eyes and mouths over trials.


© Nonah Marie Olesen

Campus Only