Orienting Toward Face-Like Stimuli in Early Childhood

Punit Shah, Francesca Happé, Sophie Sowden, Richard Cook, Geoffrey Bird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


Newborn infants orient preferentially toward face-like or "protoface" stimuli and recent studies suggest similar reflexive orienting responses in adults. Little is known, however, about the operation of this mechanism in childhood. An attentional-cueing procedure was therefore developed to investigate protoface orienting in early childhood. Consistent with the extant literature, 5- to 6-year-old children (n = 25) exhibited orienting toward face-like stimuli; they responded faster when target location was cued by the appearance of a protoface stimulus than when location was cued by matched control patterns. The potential of this procedure to investigate the development of typical and atypical social perception is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1700
Number of pages8
JournalChild Development
Issue number6
Early online date5 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cues
  • Facial Recognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Social Perception
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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