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Face Gender Influences the Looking Preference for Smiling Expressions in 3.5-Month-Old Human Infants.

Bayet L, Quinn PC, Tanaka JW, Lee K, Gentaz É, Pascalis O - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Infants are sensitive to the gender of faces; for example, 3-month-olds raised by female caregivers typically prefer female over male faces.Infants looked longer to the smiling face when faces were female but longer to the neutral face when faces were male, i.e., there was an effect of face gender on the looking preference for smiling.The results indicate that a preference for smiling in 3.5-month-olds is limited to female faces, possibly reflective of differential experience with male and female faces.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: LPNC, University of Grenoble-Alps, Grenoble, France; LPNC, CNRS, Grenoble, France.

ABSTRACT
Young infants are typically thought to prefer looking at smiling expressions. Although some accounts suggest that the preference is automatic and universal, we hypothesized that it is not rigid and may be influenced by other face dimensions, most notably the face's gender. Infants are sensitive to the gender of faces; for example, 3-month-olds raised by female caregivers typically prefer female over male faces. We presented neutral versus smiling pairs of faces from the same female or male individuals to 3.5-month-old infants (n = 25), controlling for low-level cues. Infants looked longer to the smiling face when faces were female but longer to the neutral face when faces were male, i.e., there was an effect of face gender on the looking preference for smiling. The results indicate that a preference for smiling in 3.5-month-olds is limited to female faces, possibly reflective of differential experience with male and female faces.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Example session.Each infant saw all four trials, featuring stimuli from one of two stimulus sets.
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pone.0129812.g001: Example session.Each infant saw all four trials, featuring stimuli from one of two stimulus sets.

Mentions: Our study aimed to test the effect of face gender on the looking preference of infants for smiling expressions. We presented male and female smiling faces paired with neutral faces of the same individual to 3.5-month-old infants (Fig 1, n = 25), an age at which a preference for smiling has been reported [6]. Low-level properties of the faces were equated, two different stimulus sets were used (S1 Table), and looking preferences were measured. Some accounts of the preference for smiling faces in young infants based on salience [9], mimicking [10–12], or a module for emotion recognition [13,14] would predict that face gender is irrelevant to eliciting preferential responding to smiling faces, and that infants should prefer both male and female smiles. However, given that the parental distribution of caregiving has been found to modulate the reaction of 14-month-olds to emotional expressions displayed by their mother and father [22], and given the increased familiarity of infants with female faces, it is also possible that the preference for smiling facial expressions would be greater, or at least more robust, in female faces than in male faces.


Face Gender Influences the Looking Preference for Smiling Expressions in 3.5-Month-Old Human Infants.

Bayet L, Quinn PC, Tanaka JW, Lee K, Gentaz É, Pascalis O - PLoS ONE (2015)

Example session.Each infant saw all four trials, featuring stimuli from one of two stimulus sets.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4465895&req=5

pone.0129812.g001: Example session.Each infant saw all four trials, featuring stimuli from one of two stimulus sets.
Mentions: Our study aimed to test the effect of face gender on the looking preference of infants for smiling expressions. We presented male and female smiling faces paired with neutral faces of the same individual to 3.5-month-old infants (Fig 1, n = 25), an age at which a preference for smiling has been reported [6]. Low-level properties of the faces were equated, two different stimulus sets were used (S1 Table), and looking preferences were measured. Some accounts of the preference for smiling faces in young infants based on salience [9], mimicking [10–12], or a module for emotion recognition [13,14] would predict that face gender is irrelevant to eliciting preferential responding to smiling faces, and that infants should prefer both male and female smiles. However, given that the parental distribution of caregiving has been found to modulate the reaction of 14-month-olds to emotional expressions displayed by their mother and father [22], and given the increased familiarity of infants with female faces, it is also possible that the preference for smiling facial expressions would be greater, or at least more robust, in female faces than in male faces.

Bottom Line: Infants are sensitive to the gender of faces; for example, 3-month-olds raised by female caregivers typically prefer female over male faces.Infants looked longer to the smiling face when faces were female but longer to the neutral face when faces were male, i.e., there was an effect of face gender on the looking preference for smiling.The results indicate that a preference for smiling in 3.5-month-olds is limited to female faces, possibly reflective of differential experience with male and female faces.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: LPNC, University of Grenoble-Alps, Grenoble, France; LPNC, CNRS, Grenoble, France.

ABSTRACT
Young infants are typically thought to prefer looking at smiling expressions. Although some accounts suggest that the preference is automatic and universal, we hypothesized that it is not rigid and may be influenced by other face dimensions, most notably the face's gender. Infants are sensitive to the gender of faces; for example, 3-month-olds raised by female caregivers typically prefer female over male faces. We presented neutral versus smiling pairs of faces from the same female or male individuals to 3.5-month-old infants (n = 25), controlling for low-level cues. Infants looked longer to the smiling face when faces were female but longer to the neutral face when faces were male, i.e., there was an effect of face gender on the looking preference for smiling. The results indicate that a preference for smiling in 3.5-month-olds is limited to female faces, possibly reflective of differential experience with male and female faces.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus