The Origins of First Impressions in Animal and Infant Face Perception

Leslie A. Zebrowitz and Yi Zhang

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Origins of First Impressions in Animal and Infant Face Perception

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This chapter examines evidence for phylogenetic origins that is revealed in continuities between face perception in nonhuman animals and human infants and the first impressions shown by human adults. It provides four kinds of evidence pertinent to the evolutionary origins of impression formation. First, it shows a phylogenetic foundation for overgeneralization effects in a shared sensitivity across species to particular facial qualities and their affordances. Second, it shows similar sensitivities in human infants. Third, it provides direct evidence that overgeneralized reactions to these facial qualities contribute to first impressions. Finally, the chapter provides neural data concerning the arguments presented. This is done for facial qualities that convey familiarity, neoteny, emotion, fitness, and species.

Keywords: amygdala; babyface; ecological theory; evolutionary psychology; face familiarity; face overgeneralization; facial attractiveness; facial expression recognition; facial maturity; first impressions; fusiform face area; impression formation; infant face perc

Article.  7817 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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