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Author Notes:

Correspondence: simpsone@miami.edu

We thank Stephen J. Suomi and the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology for providing resources and assisting with data collection.

Disclosures: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [NICHD P01HD064653 to PFF, NIMH R01MH104534 and P50MH000029 to LAP], a National Science Foundation CAREER Award [1653737 to EAS], and the Division of Intramural Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.


  • attention
  • infant development
  • mutual gaze
  • primate
  • social attention
  • vision
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Choice Behavior
  • Facial Recognition
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Social Perception

Visual preferences for direct-gaze faces in infant macaques (Macaca mulatta) with limited face exposure


Journal Title:

Developmental Psychobiology


Volume 61, Number 2


, Pages 228-238

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


From birth, human and nonhuman primates attend more to faces with direct gaze compared with averted gaze, and previous studies report that attention to the eyes is linked to the emergence of later social skills. Here, we explored whether early experiences influence attraction to eye contact in infant macaques by examining their attention to face pairs varying in their gaze direction across the first 13 weeks of life. Infants raised by human caretakers had limited conspecific interactions (nursery-reared; N = 16) and were compared to infants raised in rich social environments (mother-reared; N = 20). Both groups looked longer to faces and the eyes of direct compared to averted-gaze faces. Looking to all faces and eyes also increased with age. Nursery-reared infants did not display age-associated increases in attention to direct-gaze faces specifically, suggesting that, while there may be an initial preference for direct-gaze faces from birth, social experiences may support its early development.

Copyright information:

© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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