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Pediatrics. 1975 Oct;56(4):544-9.

Visual following and pattern discrimination of face-like stimuli by newborn infants.


Forty newborn infants, median age 9 minutes, turned their eyes and heads to follow a series of moving stimuli. Responsiveness was significantly greater to a proper face pattern than to either of two scrambled versions of the same stimulus or to a blank. The demonstration of such consistent response differences suggests that visual discriminations are being made at this early age. These results imply that organized visual perception is an unlearned capacity of the human organism. The preference for the proper face stimulus by infants who had not seen a real face prior to testing suggests that an unlearned or "evolved" responsiveness to faces may be present in human neonates.

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