Hoehl, S., Wiese, L. and Striano, T. (2008)
Young Infants’ Neural Processing of Objects is Affected by Eye Gaze Direction and Emotional Expression
PLoS ONE, 3(6): 1-6

  • Infants are able to follow a person’s gaze and are sensitive to facial expressions by the time they are three or four months old.
  • Normal infants of this age were tested to see whether they could link the direction of an adult’s gaze with a fearful stimulus.
  • The infants were first shown pictures of adults with fearful or neutral expressions looking towards or away from a particular object, and then pictures of the same or a different object.
  • Increased activity in the infants’ brains was seen only when they were shown objects that had previously been associated with an adult’s fearful gaze.
  • This suggests that infants at this young age are already able to respond to objects that they observe to have caused fear in adults.