Author(s): Annie Vinter, Jacques Lanares, Pierre Mounoud
In this paper, we will examine the development of face perception mainly in infancy and analyze to what extend it does reveal a specific process. For that reason, data drawn from object perception as well as from perception of one's own face will be also examined. Studying face recognition in infancy is a complex enterprise because several different abilities intervene in this phenomenon: the modes of visual exploration, the categorization ability, the ability to detect invariances ... . Moreover, the methodological paradigms that investigators have at their disposal are different enough to generally lead to divergent conclusions. For this reason, we will firstly analyze the various methods used to study face perception in infants. There are at least four of them: the habituation paradigm, the preferential looking paradigm, the scanning studies and the imitation studies. Data obtained with these methods will then be closely examined, in relation to the main disctinctions suggested by the investigators in that field: holistic/analytic perception; internal/external bias; featural/prototypical. Finally, we will try to offer an averall view of face recogntiion development which integrates data from the various stages of development.