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

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Pascalis, Olivier; de Haan, Michelle; Nelson, Charles A
Year of Publication: 2002
Journal: Science
Volume: 296
Issue: 5571
Pagination: 1321-3
Date Published: 2002 May 17
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Adult, Aging, Animals, Evoked Potentials, Face, Female, Humans, Infant, Macaca fascicularis, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Recognition (Psychology), Species Specificity, Speech Perception

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.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1070223
Alternate Journal: Science
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