Infants’ individuation of faces by gender

Charisse B. Pickron, Erik W. Cheries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By 3 months of age, infants can perceptually distinguish faces based upon differences in gender. However, it is still unknown when infants begin using these perceptual differences to represent faces in a conceptual, kind-based manner. The current study examined this issue by using a violation-of-expectation manual search individuation paradigm to assess 12-and 24-month-old infants’ kind-based representations of faces varying by gender. While infants of both ages successfully individuated human faces from non-face shapes in a control condition, only the 24-month-old infants’ reaching behaviors provided evidence of their individuating male from female faces. The current findings help specify when infants begin to represent male and female faces as being conceptually distinct and may serve as a starting point for socio-cognitive biases observed later in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number163
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by funding from the Society for Research in Child Development, Student and Early Career Council Dissertation Research Award and Dissertation Research Grant, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, each awarded to C.B. Pickron.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Face processing
  • Gender
  • Individuation
  • Infants
  • Manual search task

Cite this