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Qualitative Differences in the Exploration of Upright and Upside-Down Faces in Four-Month-Old Infants: An Eye-Movement Study


  • This work was supported by an ACI “Jeunes Chercheuses et Jeunes Chercheurs” grant from the French Ministry of Research (JC5066) awarded to Jean-Yves Baudouin and Karine Durand.

concerning this article should be addressed to Gallay Mathieu, Université René Descartes Paris 5, Laboratoire Cognition et Comportement, 71, avenue Edouard Vaillant, 92774 Boulogne-Billancourt Cedex, Bureau 4084, France. Electronic mail may be sent to


Four-month-old infants were habituated with an upright or an upside-down face. Eye-movement recordings showed that the upright and upside-down faces were not explored the same way. Infants spent more time exploring internal features, mainly in the region of the nose and mouth, when the face was upright. They also alternated as frequently between the face's internal features (eyes vs. nose/mouth) as between external and internal features. When the face was upside down, the infants spent half of their time exploring external features, and preferentially alternated between external features and internal features. The main effect of inversion was a decrease of the looking time to the nose/mouth region and of the number of shifts between the eye region and the nose/mouth region.