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      I spy with my little eye: Typical, daily exposure to faces documented from a first-person infant perspective

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          Exposure to faces is known to shape and change the face processing system; however, no study has yet documented infants' natural daily first-hand exposure to faces. One- and three-month-old infants' visual experience was recorded through head-mounted cameras. The video recordings were coded for faces to determine: (1) How often are infants exposed to faces? (2) To what type of faces are they exposed? and (3) Do frequently encountered face types reflect infants' typical pattern of perceptual narrowing? As hypothesized, infants spent a large proportion of their time (25%) exposed to faces; these faces were primarily female (70%), own-race (96%), and adult-age (81%). Infants were exposed to more individual exemplars of female, own-race, and adult-age faces than to male, other-race, and child- or older-adult-age faces. Each exposure to own-race faces was longer than to other-race faces. There were no differences in exposure duration related to the gender or age of the face. Previous research has found that the face types frequently experienced by our participants are preferred over and more successfully recognized than other face types. The patterns of face exposure revealed in the current study coincide with the known trajectory of perceptual narrowing seen later in infancy.© 2013 The Authors. Developmental Psychobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 56: 249–261, 2014.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Is face processing species-specific during the first year of life?

           O Pascalis (2002)
          Between 6 and 10 months of age, the infant's ability to discriminate among native speech sounds improves, whereas the same ability to discriminate among foreign speech sounds decreases. Our study aimed to determine whether this perceptual narrowing is unique to language or might also apply to face processing. We tested discrimination of human and monkey faces by 6-month-olds, 9-month-olds, and adults, using the visual paired-comparison procedure. Only the youngest group showed discrimination between individuals of both species; older infants and adults only showed evidence of discrimination of their own species. These results suggest that the "perceptual narrowing" phenomenon may represent a more general change in neural networks involved in early cognition.
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            The other-race effect develops during infancy: evidence of perceptual narrowing.

            Experience plays a crucial role in the development of face processing. In the study reported here, we investigated how faces observed within the visual environment affect the development of the face-processing system during the 1st year of life. We assessed 3-, 6-, and 9-month-old Caucasian infants' ability to discriminate faces within their own racial group and within three other-race groups (African, Middle Eastern, and Chinese). The 3-month-old infants demonstrated recognition in all conditions, the 6-month-old infants were able to recognize Caucasian and Chinese faces only, and the 9-month-old infants' recognition was restricted to own-race faces. The pattern of preferences indicates that the other-race effect is emerging by 6 months of age and is present at 9 months of age. The findings suggest that facial input from the infant's visual environment is crucial for shaping the face-processing system early in infancy, resulting in differential recognition accuracy for faces of different races in adulthood.
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              Three-month-olds, but not newborns, prefer own-race faces.

              Adults are sensitive to the physical differences that define ethnic groups. However, the age at which we become sensitive to ethnic differences is currently unclear. Our study aimed to clarify this by testing newborns and young infants for sensitivity to ethnicity using a visual preference (VP) paradigm. While newborn infants demonstrated no spontaneous preference for faces from either their own- or other-ethnic groups, 3-month-old infants demonstrated a significant preference for faces from their own-ethnic group. These results suggest that preferential selectivity based on ethnic differences is not present in the first days of life, but is learned within the first 3 months of life. The findings imply that adults' perceptions of ethnic differences are learned and derived from differences in exposure to own- versus other-race faces during early development.

                Author and article information

                Dev Psychobiol
                Dev Psychobiol
                Developmental Psychobiology
                BlackWell Publishing Ltd (Oxford, UK )
                February 2014
                28 November 2013
                : 56
                : 2
                : 249-261
                Department of Psychology, Ryerson University 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5B 2K3 E-mail: nsugden@ 123456ryerson.ca
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Nicole Sugden

                Contract grant sponsor: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

                © 2013 The Authors. Developmental Psychobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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