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By 3 months of age, infants can perceptually distinguish faces based upon differences in gender. However, it is still unknown when infants begin using these perceptual differences to represent faces in a conceptual, kind-based manner. The current study examined this issue by using a violation-of-expectation manual search individuation paradigm to assess 12- and 24-month-old infants’ kind-based representations of faces varying by gender. While infants of both ages successfully individuated human faces from non-face shapes in a control condition, only the 24-month-old infants’ reaching behaviors provided evidence of their individuating male from female faces. The current findings help specify when infants begin to represent male and female faces as being conceptually distinct and may serve as a starting point for socio-cognitive biases observed later in development
The Development of Face Processing: Insights from Typical and Atypical Functioning
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Pickron, Charisse B. and Cheries, Erik W., "Infants’ Individuation of Faces by Gender" (2019). Brain Sciences. 39.