Cognition 89, B53-B64

Preference for human direct gaze in infant chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Masako Myowa-Yamakoshi, Masaki Tomonaga, Masayuki Tanaka, Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Abstract

We studied gaze perception in three infant chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), aged 10–32 weeks, using a two-choice preferential-looking paradigm. The infants were presented with two photographs of a human face: (a) with the eyes open or closed, and (b) with a direct or an averted gaze. We found that the chimpanzees preferred looking at the direct-gaze face. However, in the context of scrambled faces, the infants showed no difference in gaze discrimination between direct and averted gazes. These findings suggest that gaze perception by chimpanzees may be influenced by the surrounding facial context. The relationship between gaze perception, face processing, and the adaptive significance of gaze perception are discussed from an evolutionary perspective.

Keywords

Eye-gaze discrimination, Facial context, Gaze module, Infant chimpanzees

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Myowa-Yamakoshi M, Tomonaga M, Tanaka M, Matsuzawa T (2003) Preference for human direct gaze in infant chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Cognition 89, B53-B64