Carey, Susan, Rhea Diamond, and Bryan Woods. 1980. “Development of Face Recognition: A Maturational Component?” Developmental Psychology 16 (4): 257–269. doi:10.1037//0012-16126.96.36.1997.
Assessed the development in approximately 160 6–16 yr old Ss of the ability to encode unfamiliar faces. Performance improved markedly between ages 6 and 10 and then remained at a fixed level or actually declined for several years, finally improving again by age 16. Evidence is provided that this distinctive developmental course reflects, in part, acquisition of processes specific to the encoding of faces rather than general pattern encoding or metamemorial skills. The possibility that maturational factors contribute to the developmental course of face recognition is raised, and 2 sources of data relevant to assessing this possibility are discussed.