Development of Visual Self-Recognition in Infancy

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This research investigated the development of visual self-recognition in infancy. Prior research has investigated infants' self-perception in mirror or live video stimulation in which visual-proprioceptive contingency is available. No research, however, has addressed the young infants' ability to recognize his or her own face on the basis of featural information. Infants of 2, 3, 5, and 8 months of age viewed video films of their own face side by side with that of a peer. The faces were presented under both moving and still conditions. Results indicated that by the age of 3 months, infants discriminated the self from the peer and demonstrated a significant visual preference for the face of the peer. This suggests that infants already are familiar with their own visual appearance by 3 months of age. Given that most infants had received at least daily exposure to their mirror image, it was hypothesized that featural recognition of the self developed through mirror exposure. It was further suggested that viewing one's face in the context of the contingency provided by the mirror serves as a basis for perceiving the face as belonging to the self.



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