Essay on To what extent is experience necessary for face processing?

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It has been claimed that ‘experience plays a crucial role in the development of face processing’ (Kelly, Quinn, Slater, Lee, Ge & Pascalis, 2007, p.1084). To what extent is experience necessary for face processing? Support your argument with empirical evidence.

There is much debate on the subject of experience in regards to face processing. Some say that experience is wholly important in face processing while others say that face processing is innate and will develop without experience. It has been argued both that face processing is a perceptual process organized at birth and that it originates in a more general process that becomes specialized due to experience of different faces (Sugita, 2009). It may be that there is an innate
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They were then asked to decide whether they were the same or different when upright and inverted. Deprived patients distinguished faces from the featural set normally, but were significantly impaired for the configural set. These results indicate experience is indeed necessary for the normal development of face processing; specifically configural processing of faces. They also suggest that when visual input is delayed by only two months, there are permanent deficits (Le Grand et al., 2001).

It has been hypothesized that there may be a critical/sensitive period for certain aspects of face processing to develop. Inferences from several data imply that there is a sensitive period and that it is between the first 6 to 12 months of life (Mancini et al., 1994). Nelson (2001) proposes that regions within the brain have the potential to become specialized for face processing and then when the face perception apparatus becomes tuned by exposure to faces, this specification includes: recognizing gender, age and emotional information. Sugita (2009) also suggests that there is a sensitive period for face perception; as selective experiences significantly affect later development of face processing. Although this theory has been inferred many times – it is ultimately unknown for how long this period may last. However, the concept of a sensitive period certainly supports the
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