Infants' attention is biased by emotional expressions and eye gaze direction.Neuroreport. 2008 Mar 26; 19(5):579-82.N
This study investigates infants' processing of emotional expressions in combination with referential eye gaze cues. In experiment 1, 7-month-old infants' neural responses to fearful and neutral faces, which were looking at a novel object, were assessed. Infants' attention, as indexed by the negative central component of the event-related potential, was enhanced when the adult gazed at the object with a fearful expression compared with a neutral expression. In experiment 2, no effect of emotion on amplitude of the negative central was found when the face directed eye gaze at the infant and away from the object. We conclude that by 7 months, infants use emotional expressions in triadic person-object-person contexts to detect threat in the environment.