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Perception. 2006;35(1):79-89.

Infants' discrimination of faces by using biological motion cues.

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  • 1Centre for Research in Infant Behaviour, Department of Human Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK.


We report two experiments in which we used animated averaged faces to examine infants' ability to perceive and discriminate facial motion. The faces were generated by using the motion recorded from the faces of volunteers while they spoke. We tested infants aged 4-8 months to assess their ability to discriminate facial motion sequences (condition 1) and discriminate the faces of individuals (condition 2). Infants were habituated to one sequence with the motion of one actor speaking one phrase. Following habituation, infants were presented with the same sequence together with motion from a different actor (condition 1), or a new sequence from the same actor coupled with a new sequence from a new actor (condition 2). Infants demonstrated a significant preference for the novel actor in both experiments. These findings suggest that infants can not only discriminate complex and subtle biological motion cues but also detect invariants in such displays.

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