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Infants’ Individuation of Faces by Gender

Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota 51 E River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst 135 Hicks Way, Tobin Hall Amherst, MA 01003, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(7), 163;
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 6 July 2019 / Accepted: 7 July 2019 / Published: 11 July 2019
PDF [3137 KB, uploaded 11 July 2019]


By 3 months of age, infants can perceptually distinguish faces based upon differences in gender. However, it is still unknown when infants begin using these perceptual differences to represent faces in a conceptual, kind-based manner. The current study examined this issue by using a violation-of-expectation manual search individuation paradigm to assess 12- and 24-month-old infants’ kind-based representations of faces varying by gender. While infants of both ages successfully individuated human faces from non-face shapes in a control condition, only the 24-month-old infants’ reaching behaviors provided evidence of their individuating male from female faces. The current findings help specify when infants begin to represent male and female faces as being conceptually distinct and may serve as a starting point for socio-cognitive biases observed later in development. View Full-Text
Keywords: individuation; gender; infants; face processing; manual search task individuation; gender; infants; face processing; manual search task

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Pickron, C.B.; Cheries, E.W. Infants’ Individuation of Faces by Gender. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 163.

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