Gaze Following in Newborns


Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, School of Psychology, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX, England. E-mail:


Eye gaze has been shown to be an effective cue for directing attention in adults. Whether this ability operates from birth is unknown. Three experiments were carried out with 2- to 5-day-old newborns. The first experiment replicated the previous finding that newborns are able to discriminate between direct and averted gaze, and extended this finding from real to schematic faces. In Experiments 2 and 3 newborns were faster to make saccades to peripheral targets cued by the direction of eye movement of a central schematic face, but only when the motion of the pupils was visible. These results suggest that newborns may show a rudimentary form of gaze following.