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Newborn Infants' Preference for Attractive Faces: The Role of Internal and External Facial Features

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2000
JournalInfancy
Journal number2
Volume1
Number of pages10
Pages265-274
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Several previous experiments have found that newborn and young infants will spend more time looking at attractive faces when these are shown paired with faces judged by adults to be unattractive. Two experimental conditions are described with the aim of finding whether the “attractiveness effect” results from attention to internal or external facial features, or both. Pairs of attractive and less attractive faces (as judged by adults) were shown to newborn infants (mean age 2 days, 9 hours), where each pair had either identical internal features (and different external features) or identical external features (and different internal features). In the latter, but not the former, condition the infants looked longer at the attractive faces. These findings are clear evidence that newborn infants use information about internal facial features in making preferences based on attractiveness. It is suggested that when newborn (and older) infants are presented with facial stimuli, whether dynamic or static, they are able to attend both to internal and external facial features.