Cognitive Development 20, 49-63

Development of face recognition in infant chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi, Masami K. Yamaguchi, Masaki Tomonaga, Masayuki Tanaka, Tetsuro Matsuzawa


In this paper,we assessed the developmental changes in face recognition by three infant chimpanzees aged 1–18 weeks, using preferential-looking procedures that measured the infants’ eye- and headtracking of moving stimuli. In Experiment 1, we prepared photographs of the mother of each infant and an “average” chimpanzee face using computer-graphics technology. Prior to 4 weeks of age, the infants showed few tracking responses and no differential responses. Between 4 and 8 weeks of age, they paid greater attention to their mother’s face. From 8 weeks onward, they again showed no differences, but exhibited frequent tracking responses. Experiment 2 investigated the infants’ tracking responses between a familiar human’s and an “average” human face. The infants did not show any evidence of recognizing the human faces.We discuss the development of face recognition in relation to the effects of other species’ faces and postnatal visual experience.


Face recognition, Infant chimpanzees, Development, Mother’s face, Human face

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Myowa-Yamakoshi M, Yamaguchi MK. , Tomonaga M, Tanaka M, Matsuzawa T (2005) Development of face recognition in infant chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Cognitive Development 20, 49-63 , doi: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2004.12.002