Skip to main content

Infants rapidly detect human faces in complex naturalistic visual scenes

Kelly, David J., Duarte, Sofia, Meary, David, Bindemann, Markus, Pascalis, Olivier (2019) Infants rapidly detect human faces in complex naturalistic visual scenes. Developmental Science, 22 (6). Article Number 12829. ISSN 1363-755X. (doi:10.1111/desc.12829) (KAR id:73096)

PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download (1MB) Preview
[thumbnail of desc.12829.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


Infants respond preferentially to faces and face‐like stimuli from birth, but past research has typically presented faces in isolation or amongst an artificial array of competing objects. In the current study infants aged 3‐ to 12‐months viewed a series of complex visual scenes; half of the scenes contained a person, the other half did not. Infants rapidly detected and oriented to faces in scenes even when they were not visually salient. Although a clear developmental improvement was observed in face detection and interest, all infants displayed sensitivity to the presence of a person in a scene, by displaying eye movements that differed quantifiably across a range of measures when viewing scenes that either did or did not contain a person. We argue that infant's face detection capabilities are ostensibly ‘better’ with naturalistic stimuli and artificial array presentations used in previous studies have underestimated performance.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/desc.12829
Uncontrolled keywords: face detection, infancy, eye movements, visual search
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: David Kelly
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2019 12:04 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Kelly, David J.:
Bindemann, Markus:
  • Depositors only (login required):