The current study aimed to extend the understanding of the early development of spontaneous facial reactions toward observed facial expressions. Forty-six 9- to 10-month-old infants observed video clips of dynamic human facial expressions that were artificially created with morphing technology. The infants’ facial responses were recorded, and the movements of the facial action unit 12 (e.g., lip-corner raising, associated with happiness) and facial action unit 4 (e.g., brow-lowering, associated with anger) were visually evaluated by multiple naïve raters. Results showed that (1) infants make congruent, observable facial responses to facial expressions, and (2) these specific facial responses are enhanced during repeated observation of the same emotional expressions. These results suggest the presence of observable congruent facial responses in the first year of life, and that they appear to be influenced by contextual information, such as the repetition of presentation of the target emotional expressions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology