Viola Brenna, Veronica Ferrara, Valentina Proietti, Rosario Montirosso, Chiara Turati

The effect of positive (happines) and negative (fear) facial emotional expression in 3-month-old recognition of an individual face

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Keywords: Face recognition, emotional processing, emotional facial expressions recognition, infants

The present study investigated the relation between recognition of face identity and facial expression in early infancy. Recent studies demonstrated that these processes mutually interact in adults (Bate, Haslam and Hodgson, 2009). Using a familiarization paradigm, the study examined whether the ability to recognize an individual face in 3-month-old infants is affected by the positive (happiness, Exp. 1) or negative (fear, Exp. 2) emotional expressions displayed. Results indicated that, after being familiarized with a happy face, 3-month-old infants are capable to recognize the familiar face shown with a neutral expression (Exp. 1). Conversely, when infants are familiarized with a fearful face, their face recognition competence appears disrupted (Exp. 2). Obtained evidence indicated that, at 3 months of age, recognition of face identity is affected by emotional facial expressions processing.

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