Relations between scanning and recognition of own‐ and other‐race faces in 6‐ and 9‐month‐old infants Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractInfants typically see more own‐race faces than other‐race faces. Existing evidence shows that this difference in face race experience has profound consequences for face processing: as early as 6 months of age, infants scan own‐ and other‐race faces differently and display superior recognition for own‐ relative to other‐race faces. However, it is unclear whether scanning of own‐race faces is related to the own‐race recognition advantage in infants. To bridge this gap in the literature, the current study used eye tracking to investigate the relation between own‐race face scanning and recognition in 6‐ and 9‐month‐old Asian infants (N = 82). The infants were familiarized with dynamic own‐ and other‐race faces, and then their face recognition was tested with static face images. Both age groups recognized own‐ but not other‐race faces. Also, regardless of race, the more infants scanned the eyes of the novel versus familiar faces at test, the better their face‐recognition performance. In addition, both 6‐ and 9‐month‐olds fixated significantly longer on the nose of own‐race faces, and greater fixation on the nose during test trials correlated positively with individual novelty preference scores in the own‐ but not other‐race condition. The results suggest that some aspects of the relation between recognition and scanning are independent of differential experience with face race, whereas other aspects are affected by such experience. More broadly, the findings imply that scanning and recognition may become linked during infancy at least in part through the influence of perceptual experience.


  • Liu, Shaoying
  • Quinn, Paul C
  • Xiao, Naiqi
  • Wu, Zhijun
  • Liu, Guangxi
  • Lee, Kang

publication date

  • June 2018