Superior Detection of Faces in Male Infants at 2 Months

Sarah E. Maylott, Jilian R. Sansone, Krisztina V. Jakobsen, Elizabeth A. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Females generally attend more to social information than males; however, little is known about the early development of these sex differences. With eye tracking, 2-month olds’ (N = 101; 44 females) social orienting to faces was measured within four-item image arrays. Infants were more likely to detect human faces compared to objects, suggesting a functional face detection system. Unexpectedly, males looked longer at human faces than females, and only males looked faster and longer at human faces compared to objects. Females, in contrast, looked less at human faces relative to animal faces and objects, appearing socially disinterested. Notably, this is the first report of a male face detection advantage at any age. These findings suggest a unique stage in early infant social development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e621-e634
JournalChild development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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