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The perception of facial expressions in newborns

Farroni, Teresa and Menon, E. and Rigato, Silvia and Johnson, Mark H. (2007) The perception of facial expressions in newborns. European Journal of Developmental Psychology 4 (1), pp. 2-13. ISSN 1740-5629.

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The ability of newborns to discriminate and respond to different emotional facial expressions remains controversial. We conducted three experiments in which we tested newborns' preferences, and their ability to discriminate between neutral, fearful, and happy facial expressions, using visual preference and habituation procedures. In the first two experiments, no evidence was found that newborns discriminate, or show a preference between, a fearful and a neutral face. In the third experiment, newborns looked significantly longer at a happy facial expression than a fearful one. We raise the possibility that this preference reflects experience acquired over the first few days of life. These results show that at least some expressions are discriminated and preferred in newborns only a few days old.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Available via Gold Open Access at
School: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2011 11:27
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:45

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