Author(s): Juan M Serrano, Jaime Iglesias, Angela Loeches
On the assumption that the ability to discriminate facial expressions has adaptive value to infants during early social exchanges, ethologically based theorists have argued that this ability is innate. Guided by this perspective, we investigated the ability of infants, 4–6 months old to recognized and discriminate facial expressions of anger, fear, and surprise. Results obtained with an infant-controlled habituation-recovery procedure showed that infants both discriminated and recognized these expressions when portrayed by several adult female models. In addition, infants spent more time looking at expressions of anger and surprise that at fear expressions. These results suggest that infants can abstract configurations of features that give affective meaning to facial expression. It is suggested that the differences in habituation to each expression might be the result of their distinct functional signification for the infant.