Attention and memory for faces and actions in infancy: the salience of actions over faces in dynamic events.

Date of this Version


Document Type



Discrimination and memory for video films of women performing different activities was investigated in 5.5 month-old infants. In Experiment 1, infants (N = 24) were familiarized to the faces of one of three women performing one of three repetitive activities (blowing bubbles, brushing hair, and brushing teeth). Overall, results indicated discrimination and memory for the actions but not the faces after both a 1-min and a 7-week delay. Memory was demonstrated by a visual preference for the novel actions after the 1-min delay and for the familiar actions after the 7-week delay, replicating prior findings that preferences shift as a function of retention time. Experiment 2 (N = 12) demonstrated discrimination and memory for the faces when infants were presented in static poses at the 1-min delay, but not the 7-week delay. In Experiment 3 (N = 18), discrimination of the actions was replicated, but no discrimination among the objects embedded in the actions (hairbrush, bubble wand, toothbrush) was found. These findings demonstrate the attentional salience of actions over faces in dynamic events to 5.5 month-olds. They highlight the disparity between results generated from moving versus static displays in infancy research and emphasize the importance of using dynamic events as a basis for generalizing about perception and memory for events in the real world.



This document is currently not available here.