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Child Dev. 1976 Jun;47(2):323-32.

Infants' responses to strangers: midget, adult, and child.


Infants respond differentially, and at times with fearlike behavior, to unfamiliar persons. This study was designed to see how infants discriminate among strangers. Since it has been shown that infants respond differently to children and adults, the physical characteristics of persons used to make such differentiations were of interest. Facial configuration and height were systematically varied as 4 different strangers--a male and female child, a female adults, and a small female adult the same height as the children (midget)--each approached 40 different infants. The infants responded as if there were 3 classes of persons--adult, child, and small adult, suggesting that both size and facial configuration cues were used. Infants as young as 7 months of age reacted to the size-facial configuration discrepancy of the small-adult condition.

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