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Individual Differences in Face Processing: Infants' Scanning Patterns and Pupil Dilations are Influenced by the Distribution of Parental Leave
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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2012 (English)In: Infancy, ISSN 1525-0008, E-ISSN 1532-7078, Vol. 17, no 1, 79-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fourteen-month-old infants were presented with static images of happy, neutral, and fearful emotional facial expressions in an eye-tracking paradigm. The emotions were expressed by the infants own parents as well as a male and female stranger (parents of another participating infant). Rather than measuring the duration of gaze in particular areas of interest, we measured number of fixations, distribution of fixations, and pupil diameter to evaluate global scanning patterns and reactions to emotional content. The three measures were differentially sensitive to differences in parental leave, emotional expression, and face familiarity. Infants scanned and processed differently happy, neutral, and fearful faces. In addition, infants cared for by both father and mother (divided parental leave) distributed their gaze more across faces than did infants primarily cared for by one parent (in this study, the mother). Pupil diameter complemented these findings, revealing that infants had larger pupil diameter during observation of neutral emotions expressed by the parent who is not currently the primary caregiver. This study demonstrates how conclusions differ as a function of the particular eye-tracking measure used and shows that the three measures used here converge on the conclusion that 14-month-old infants processing of emotional expressions is influenced by infants exposure to fathers and mothers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 17, no 1, 79-101 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-167183DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-7078.2011.00091.xISI: 000297507700005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-167183DiVA: diva2:483349
Available from: 2012-01-25 Created: 2012-01-23 Last updated: 2012-10-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Social World Through Infants’ Eyes: How Infants Look at Different Social Figures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Social World Through Infants’ Eyes: How Infants Look at Different Social Figures
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to study how infants actively look at different social figures: parents and strangers. To study infants’ looking behavior in “live” situations, new methods to record looking behavior were tested.

Study 1 developed a method to record looking behavior in “live” situations: a head-mounted camera. This method was calibrated for a number of angles and then used to measure how infants look at faces and objects in two “live” situations, a conversation and a joint action. High reliability was found for the head-mounted camera in horizontal positions and the possibility of using it in a number of “live” situations with infants from 6 to 14 months of age.

In Study 2, the head-mounted camera and a static camera and were used in a “live” ambiguous situation to study infants’ preferences to refer to and to use the information from parents and strangers. The results from Experiment 1 of Study 2 showed that if no information is provided in ambiguous situations in the lab, infants at 10 months of age look more at the experimenter than at the parent. Further, Experiment 2 of Study 2 showed that the infants also used more of the emotional information provided by the experimenter than by the parent to regulate their behavior.

 In Study 3, looking behavior was analyzed in detail when infants looked at pictures of their parents’ and strangers’ emotional facial expressions. Corneal eye tracking was used to record looking. In this study, the influence of identity, gender, emotional expressions and parental leave on looking behavior was analyzed. The results indicated that identity and experience of looking at others influences how infants discriminate emotions in pictures of facial expressions. Fourteen-month-old infants who had been with both parents in parental leave discriminated more emotional expressions in strangers than infants who only had one parent on leave. Further, they reacted with larger pupil dilation toward the parent who was actually in parental leave than to the parent not on leave. Finally, fearful emotional expressions were more broadly scanned than neutral or happy facial expressions.

The results of these studies indicate that infants discriminate between mothers’, fathers’ and strangers’ emotional facial expressions and use the other people’s expressions to regulate their behavior. In addition, a new method, a head-mounted camera was shown to capture infants’ looking behavior in “live” situations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 66 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 75
infant social looking, emotional facial expressions, experience, identity, behavior regulation, head-mounted cameras, eye-tracking
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-168304 (URN)978-91-554-8269-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-03-29, Sal IV, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2012-03-07 Created: 2012-02-08 Last updated: 2012-03-29Bibliographically approved

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Gredebäck, GustafSchmitow, ClaraStenberg, Gunilla
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