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Infants show an advantage in processing female and familiar race faces, but the effect sizes are often small, suggesting individual differences in their discrimination abilities. This research assessed whether differences in 6–10-month-olds’ temperament (surgency and orienting) predicted how they scanned individual faces varying in race and gender during familiarization and whether and how long it took them to locate the face during a visual search task. This study also examined whether infants viewing faces posing pleasant relative to neutral expressions would facilitate their discrimination of male and unfamiliar race faces. Results showed that infants’ surgency on its own or in conjunction with their orienting regularly interacted with facial characteristics to predict their scanning and location of faces. Furthermore, infants’ scanning patterns (dwell times and internal–external fixation shifts) correlated with their ability and time to locate a familiarized face. Moreover, infants who viewed faces with pleasant expressions showed better discrimination of unfamiliar race and male faces compared with infants who viewed neutral faces. Including temperament in the analyses consistently demonstrated its significance for understanding infant face processing. Findings suggest that positive interactions with other-race individuals and men might reduce processing disadvantages for those face types. Locating familiar adults in a timely manner is a crucial skill for infants to develop and these data elucidate factors influencing this ability.
Face perception; Infancy; Face discrimination; Eye-tracking; Visual search; Emotional expression; Race; Gender; Surgency; Orienting
Child Psychology | Development Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Maternal and Child Health | Pediatrics | Race and Ethnicity | Social Psychology and Interaction
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Rennels, J. L.,
Kayl, A. J.,
Kulhanek, K. M.
Individual Differences in Infants' Temperament Affect Face Processing.
Brain Sciences, 10(8),
Child Psychology Commons, Development Studies Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Maternal and Child Health Commons, Pediatrics Commons, Race and Ethnicity Commons, Social Psychology and Interaction Commons