Developmental trajectory of face perception mechanisms in infant macaques. Open Access

Huynh, Khang Ninh (2015)

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Humans, among other primates, rely heavily on vision for survival, navigation and social interactions. As social creatures, humans encounter many faces in our lifetime and can recognize them quickly and effortlessly. The efficiency at which this process is carried out belies the fact that face perception is a vital and complex procedure. Current findings in the field have supported holistic processing, over featural processing, as the main mechanism for upright face perception in adults human. However, unlike most mammals where newborn animals possess sufficient motor and sensory ability to navigate and explore its environment in matter of hours after birth, human babies need months to unlock those skills and years to perfectly master them, especially with visual system. This study aims to investigate the developmental trajectory of face perception in infants and see how the interactions between developmental and innate elements in early days dictate the use of holistic processing later in development. Using infant rhesus macaque, this study suggests an innate preference for holistic objects. However, early face perception is dominated by featural processing starting from around week four and five. This use of featural processing helps with orienting infants towards faces and lay out a foundation for holistic processing to develop later on.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Background

1. Face perception overview.

2. Holistic face processing: hypothesis for structural encoding

3. Developmental component of face perception system

4. Hypothesis and aim

Chapter 2: Procedure and method

1. Paradigm overview

2. Subjects

3. Equipment

4. Procedure

5. Stimuli

6. Data analysis

Chapter 3: Results

1. Results shows early preference for holistic stimuli in Glass pattern

2. Results show late preference for inverted face in upright-inverted face stimuli

3. Late preference for holistic subjects in configural stimuli

Chapter 4: Discussion

1. Result shows changes in fixation preference within the first 10 weeks.

2. Revisit the upright-inverted results: Dual-route hypothesis

3. Short comings of the study

4. Future direction


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