Innate face processing

Yoichi Sugita*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Recent monkey studies provide intriguing information for an open question whether face processing is a special perceptual process and is organized as such at birth, or has its origin in a more general system that becomes specialized with experience. Before seeing any faces or face-like objects, macaque monkeys showed a preference for faces rather than nonface objects. Furthermore, they showed remarkable face processing abilities both for human and monkey faces. It was also shown that macaque newborns are able to imitate human facial gestures, indicating the ability to match their own facial movements to observed facial gestures. Taken together, it seems very likely that newborns can acquire the knowledge about the basic structure of their own face, presumably through proprioception, so that facial structure would become a familiar and attractive visual object without the experience of the face itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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