Neural processing of eye gaze and threat-related emotional facial expressions in infancy.Child Dev. 2008 Nov-Dec; 79(6):1752-60.CD
Combined with emotional expressions, eye gaze can provide essential information to indicate threat in the environment. The current study assessed the effects of eye gaze direction on infants' neural processing of fearful and angry faces. Event-related potentials were recorded from thirteen 7-month-old infants. Two face-sensitive posterior components, the N290 and P400, as well as a frontocentral negative component (Nc), indicating attentional arousal, were sensitive to eye gaze direction and emotion. A larger Nc was observed for angry faces with direct compared to averted eye gaze. Fearful faces elicited a larger N290 than angry faces, whereas angry faces elicited a more prominent P400 regardless of eye gaze direction. The findings are discussed in terms of early social cognitive and neural development.