Adélaide de Heering

  PhD (2009)

  Postdoctoral Researcher 2011-2015



University of Louvain (UCL)
Institute of research in Psychology (IPSY)  
Institute of Neuroscience (IoNS)
10, Place du Cardinal Mercier
1348 Louvain-La-Neuve \ Belg ium

Tel : +32 10 47 
Fax: + 32 10 47 37 74



Research Interests

I have a general interest in the development and the plasticity of the face recognition system.

An important paradox characterizes the development of the face recognition system. Whereas newborns already show a great deal of face processing abilities, the face recognition system is known to be fully matured only at puberty. Within this developmental perspective, we focus on the development of holistic face processing abilities testing newborns and children.

On the one hand, I have conducted a study with newborns in collaboration with Prs. F. Simion and C. Turati (University of Padova, Italy) which addresses the question of newborns’ abilities to process different spatial frequency ranges on face stimuli (see Cognition paper below). Using the habituation technique, we found that newborns’ face recognition was based on spatial frequencies below 0.5 cycles per degree, indicating that they rely preferentially on aspects of a face that deal with large rather than subtle variations provided by fine details.

A second experiment testing 4-, 5-, 6-year-old children and adults on the composite face illusion suggested that holistic face processing is mature at 4 years of age and is stable between 4 and 6 (see JECP paper below). It was also interesting to note that fixation sites and eye movements were virtually identical in adults when the top and bottom parts were aligned (composite illusion) or misaligned (no illusion), indicating that holistic face processing can be independent of gaze behavior (see Journal of Neuropsychology paper below).

During my PhD under the supervision of Bruno Rossionat the University of Louvain, I studied the plasticity of the face recognition system by investigating the potential environmental influences on the system when it is still developing (children) and fully matured (adults). I also took part in event-related potential studies in children.

Between 2009 and 2011, I did a postdoc at McMaster University, with Daphne Maurer. 


Publications: Face Categorization Lab

de Heering, A. & Rossion, B. (2015). Rapid categorization of natural face images in the infant right hemisphere. eLife 2015;4;e06564. [PDF]

de Heering, A. Aljuhanay, A., Rossion, B., Pascalis, O. (2012). Early deafness increases the face inversion effect but does not modulate the composite face effect. Front Psychol. 2012;3:124 [PDF]

de Heering, A., Rossion, B., Maurer, D. (2012). Developmental changes in face recognition during childhood: evidence from upright and inverted faces. Cognitive Development, 27, 17-27. [PDF]

de Heering, A., de Liedekerke, C., Deboni, M., Rossion, B. (2010). The role of experience during childhood in shaping the other-race face effect. Developmental Science, 13, 181-187. [PDF]

Kuefner, D., de Heering, A., Jacques, C., Palmero-Soler, E., Rossion, B. (2010). Early visually evoked electrophysiological responses over the human brain (P1, N170) show stable patterns of face-sensitivity from 4 years to adulthood. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 3:67. doi:10.3389/neuro.09.067.2009 [PDF]

de Heering, A. & Rossion, B. (2008). Prolonged visual experience in adulthood modulates holistic face perception. PLOS One, 3(5):e2317. [PDF]

de Heering, A., Rossion, B., Turati, C., Simion, F., (2008). Holistic face processing can be independent of gaze behavior: Evidence from the face composite effect. Journal of Neuropsychology, 2, 183-195. [PDF]

de Heering, A., Turati, C., Rossion, B., Bulf, H., Goffaux, V., & Simion, F. (2008). Newborns' face recognition is based on spatial frequencies below 0.5 cycles per degree. Cognition, 106, 444-454. [PDF] [slideshow summary]

de Heering, A. & Houthuys, S. & Rossion, B. (2007). Holistic face processing is mature at 4 years of age: evidence from the composite face effect. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 96, 57-70. [PDF] [slideshow summary]