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Title page for ETD etd-07142016-094743

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Ryan, Kaitlin Frances
Author's Email Address kaitlin.ryan@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07142016-094743
Title Gender Differences in Recognition of Toy Faces Suggest a Contribution of Experience
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Isabel Gauthier Committee Chair
Geoffrey Woodman Committee Member
  • gender differences
  • learning
  • experience
  • face recognition
Date of Defense 2016-07-22
Availability unrestricted
When there is a gender effect, women perform better than men in face recognition tasks. Prior work has not documented a male advantage on a face recognition task, suggesting that face recognition is a unitary domain for which women may excel either due to evolutionary reasons or the influence of social roles. Here, we question the assumption that face recognition is a unitary domain and provide a proof of concept based on a face category for which men outperform women. We developed a test of face learning to measures individual differences with face categories for which men and women may differ in experience, using the faces of Barbie dolls and of Transformers. The results show a crossover interaction between subject gender and category, where men outperform women with Transformers’ faces. We demonstrate that men can outperform women with some categories of faces, suggesting that explanations for a general face recognition advantage for women are in fact not needed.
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