British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 20 Issue 4 (November 2002), Pages 465-622

Newborns' local processing in schematic facelike configurations (pages 465-478)

The goal of the study was to provide a direct comparison of newborns' ability to process and store, over a 2min delay, the shape of the internal local elements of schematic facelike and non‐facelike patterns. Two experiments were carried out using a visual habituation technique with an infant control procedure. The results demonstrate that newborns discriminated between two schematic facelike and nonfacelike configurations that differed exclusively for the shape of the internal local elements (Expt 1), and they maintained this discriminative ability even when recognition was tested after a 2min retention interval (Expt 2). The results are consistent with the existence of a general pattern learning mechanism that mediates newborns' ability to acquire information about any pattern, including faces (de Schonen & Mancini, 1995; de Schonen, Mancini, & Liegeois 1998; Johnson, 1997).

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