A U-Shaped Relation Between Sitting Ability and Upright Face Processing in Infants


  • This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant P20 RR017702 and University of Louisville Internal Research Incentive Grant 50456. We thank the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the students in the UofL Infant Cognition Laboratory for their help in recruitment and data collection. We thank Guy O. Dove and Chris A. DeNicola for their comments on previous versions of this manuscript. We are especially grateful to all the parents and infants who participated in this study.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Cara H. Cashon, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292. Electronic mail may be sent to cara.cashon@louisville.edu.


A growing body of research indicates connections exist between action, perception, and cognition in infants. In this study, associated changes between sitting ability and upright face processing were tested in 111 infants. Using the visual habituation “switch” task (C. H. Cashon & L. B. Cohen, 2004; L. B. Cohen & C. H. Cashon, 2001), holistic processing of faces was assessed in same-aged non- and near sitters (22–25 weeks) and same-aged new and expert sitters (27–32 weeks). U-shaped relation was found between sitting stage and holistic face processing such that only nonsitters and expert sitters processed faces holistically. It is posited that the results are due to a reorganization of the upright face-processing system resulting from infants' learning to sit independently and trying to incorporate the meaning of upright faces.