A new study using electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings of brain responses of five-month-old infants showed that they can individuate faces of their mothers i.e., generate specific neural responses associated with recognition of faces, when briefly shown pictures of their mother’s face, but only under certain conditions.
The findings indicate that young infants can identify their mother’s face at a glance, under different angles and with different facial expressions, but only if it is not mixed with too many other faces. The study was published in the Cortex.
Recognizing people based on their faces is extremely important for social interactions. This is also a very complex task. Yet, in spite of its complexity, adult humans are typically able to recognize the identity of thousands of faces. They can also do it extremely quickly, at a glance, in less than a second.
The study, “Superior neural individuation of mother’s than stranger’s faces by five months of age”, was authored by Stefanie Peykarjou, Miriam Langeloh, Elisa Baccolo, Bruno Rossion, and Sabina Pauen.