Attractiveness is perceived based on both facial physical features and prior experience for adults. Infants also prefer attractive or familiar faces, but it is unclear whether facial physical features and prior experience affect their preference. In this study, we investigated whether infants’ preference for faces was shaped by both facial physical features and facial looking experience. This experiment comprised two tasks, observation and preference looking. We manipulated fixation durations in the first task (observation experience) to differ between presented faces and measured the preference for faces in the second task right after the observation task. We conducted two experiments: the same faces in the same positions through both tasks in Experiment 1, and the same faces in different positions in Experiment 2, and analyzed the interaction between observation experience and attractiveness of face images in terms of preference. Observation experience and facial attractiveness only affected preference in Experiment 2: Infants generally looked longer at the flickered position but different face, but looked for the attractive face when the face in the flickered position changed from attractive to unattractive. We suggest that observation experience arouses spatial attention, and that facial attractiveness attracts infants’ attention only when they notice changes of faces.
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