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I can't take my eyes off of you: attentional allocation to infant, child, adolescent and adult faces in mothers and non-mothers.

Thompson-Booth, C; Viding, E; Mayes, LC; Rutherford, HJ; Hodsoll, S; McCrory, E; (2014) I can't take my eyes off of you: attentional allocation to infant, child, adolescent and adult faces in mothers and non-mothers. PLoS One , 9 (10) , Article e109362. 10.1371/journal.pone.0109362. Green open access

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Abstract

It has been reported previously that infant faces elicit enhanced attentional allocation compared to adult faces in adult women, particularly when these faces are emotional and when the participants are mothers, as compared to non-mothers [1]. However, it remains unclear whether this increased salience of infant faces as compared to adult faces extends to children older than infant age, or whether infant faces have a unique capacity to elicit preferential attentional allocation compared to juvenile or adult faces. Therefore, this study investigated attentional allocation to a variety of different aged faces (infants, pre-adolescent children, adolescents, and adults) in 84 adult women, 39 of whom were mothers. Consistent with previous findings, infant faces were found to elicit greater attentional engagement compared to pre-adolescent, adolescent, or adult faces, particularly when the infants displayed distress; again, this effect was more pronounced in mothers compared to non-mothers. Pre-adolescent child faces were also found to elicit greater attentional engagement compared to adolescent and adult faces, but only when they displayed distress. No preferential attentional allocation was observed for adolescent compared to adult faces. These findings indicate that cues potentially signalling vulnerability, specifically age and sad affect, interact to engage attention. They point to a potentially important mechanism, which helps facilitate caregiving behaviour.

Type: Article
Title: I can't take my eyes off of you: attentional allocation to infant, child, adolescent and adult faces in mothers and non-mothers.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109362
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0109362
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Thompson-Booth et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1455607
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