Preference for facial averageness: Evidence for a common mechanism in human and macaque infants

Fabrice Damon, David Méary, Paul C. Quinn, Kang Lee, Elizabeth A Simpson, Annika Paukner, Stephen J. Suomi, Olivier Pascalis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Human adults and infants show a preference for average faces, which could stem from a general processing mechanism and may be shared among primates. However, little is known about preference for facial averageness in monkeys. We used a comparative developmental approach and eye-tracking methodology to assess visual attention in human and macaque infants to faces naturally varying in their distance from a prototypical face. In Experiment 1, we examined the preference for faces relatively close to or far from the prototype in 12-month-old human infants with human adult female faces. Infants preferred faces closer to the average than faces farther from it. In Experiment 2, we measured the looking time of 3-month-old rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) viewing macaque faces varying in their distance from the prototype. Like human infants, macaque infants looked longer to faces closer to the average. In Experiments 3 and 4, both species were presented with unfamiliar categories of faces (i.e., macaque infants tested with adult macaque faces; human infants and adults tested with infant macaque faces) and showed no prototype preferences, suggesting that the prototypicality effect is experience-dependent. Overall, the findings suggest a common processing mechanism across species, leading to averageness preferences in primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46303
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 13 2017

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Macaca
Macaca mulatta
Primates
Haplorhini

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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Preference for facial averageness : Evidence for a common mechanism in human and macaque infants. / Damon, Fabrice; Méary, David; Quinn, Paul C.; Lee, Kang; Simpson, Elizabeth A; Paukner, Annika; Suomi, Stephen J.; Pascalis, Olivier.

In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 46303, 13.04.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Damon, Fabrice ; Méary, David ; Quinn, Paul C. ; Lee, Kang ; Simpson, Elizabeth A ; Paukner, Annika ; Suomi, Stephen J. ; Pascalis, Olivier. / Preference for facial averageness : Evidence for a common mechanism in human and macaque infants. In: Scientific Reports. 2017 ; Vol. 7.
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