Login | Register

The eyes know it: Toddlers' visual scanning of sad faces is predicted by their theory of mind skills

Title:

The eyes know it: Toddlers' visual scanning of sad faces is predicted by their theory of mind skills

Poulin-Dubois, Diane, Hastings, Paul D., Chiarella, Sabrina Sarah, Geangu, Elena, Hauf, Petra, Ruel, Alexa and Johnson, Aaron P. (2018) The eyes know it: Toddlers' visual scanning of sad faces is predicted by their theory of mind skills. PLOS ONE, 13 (12). e0208524. ISSN 1932-6203

[img]
Preview
Text (application/pdf)
Poulin-Dubois-PLOS-2018.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
959kB

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208524

Abstract

The current research explored toddlers’ gaze fixation during a scene showing a person expressing sadness after a ball is stolen from her. The relation between the duration of gaze fixation on different parts of the person’s sad face (e.g., eyes, mouth) and theory of mind skills was examined. Eye tracking data indicated that before the actor experienced the negative event, toddlers divided their fixation equally between the actor’s happy face and other distracting objects, but looked longer at the face after the ball was stolen and she expressed sadness. The strongest predictor of increased focus on the sad face versus other elements of the scene was toddlers’ ability to predict others’ emotional reactions when outcomes fulfilled (happiness) or failed to fulfill (sadness) desires, whereas toddlers’ visual perspective-taking skills predicted their more specific focusing on the actor’s eyes and, for boys only, mouth. Furthermore, gender differences emerged in toddlers’ fixation on parts of the scene. Taken together, these findings suggest that top-down processes are involved in the scanning of emotional facial expressions in toddlers.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Authors:Poulin-Dubois, Diane and Hastings, Paul D. and Chiarella, Sabrina Sarah and Geangu, Elena and Hauf, Petra and Ruel, Alexa and Johnson, Aaron P.
Journal or Publication:PLOS ONE
Date:2018
Funders:
  • Concordia Open Access Author Fund
  • Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture, Award Number: 2008-SE-125058
  • Canadian Fund Innovation, Award Number: 203229
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award Number: 322013
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Award Number: 435-202-1403
  • Canada Excellence Research Chairs, Government of Canada
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1371/journal.pone.0208524
ID Code:984769
Deposited By: KRISTA ALEXANDER
Deposited On:17 Dec 2018 19:10
Last Modified:17 Dec 2018 19:10

References:

1. Goren CC, Sarty M, Wu PY. Visual following and pattern discrimination of face-like stimuli by newborn infants. Pediatrics. 1975 Oct 1;56(4):544–9. pmid:1165958

2. Johnson MH, Dziurawiec S, Ellis H, Morton J. Newborns' preferential tracking of face-like stimuli and its subsequent decline. Cognition. 1991 Aug 1;40(1–2):1–9.

3. Izard C, Fine S, Schultz D, Mostow A, Ackerman B, Youngstrom E. Emotion knowledge as a predictor of social behavior and academic competence in children at risk. Psychological Science. 2001 Jan;12(1):18–23. pmid:11294223

4. Hoehl S, Palumbo L, Heinisch C, Striano T. Infants' attention is biased by emotional expressions and eye gaze direction. Neuroreport. 2008 Mar 26;19(5):579–82. pmid:18388742

5. Quinn PC, Anzures G, Izard CE, Lee K, Pascalis O, Slater AM, et al., Looking across domains to understand infant representation of emotion. Emotion Review. 2011 Apr;3(2):197–206. pmid:21572929

6. Witherington DC, Campos JJ, Harriger JA, Bryan C, Margett TE. Emotion and its development in infancy. The Wiley‐Blackwell Handbook of Infant Development. 2010 Aug 27;1:568–91.

7. Székely E, Tiemeier H, Arends LR, Jaddoe VW, Hofman A, Verhulst FC, et al. Recognition of facial expressions of emotions by 3-year-olds. Emotion. 2011 Apr;11(2):425. pmid:21500910

8. Birmingham E, Bischof WF, Kingstone A. Social attention and real-world scenes: The roles of action, competition and social content. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2008 Jul 1;61(7):986–98. pmid:18938281

9. Calder AJ, Keane J, Manes F, Antoun N, Young AW. Impaired recognition and experience of disgust following brain injury. Nature Neuroscience. 2000 Nov;3(11):1077. pmid:11036262

10. Eisenbarth H, Alpers GW. Happy mouth and sad eyes: scanning emotional facial expressions. Emotion. 2011 Aug;11(4):860. pmid:21859204

11. Smith ML, Cottrell GW, Gosselin F, Schyns PG. Transmitting and decoding facial expressions. Psychological Science. 2005 Mar;16(3):184–9. pmid:15733197

12. Tanaka JW, Kaiser MD, Butler S, Le Grand R. Mixed emotions: Holistic and analytic perception of facial expressions. Cognition & Emotion. 2012 Sep 1;26(6):961–77. pmid:22273429

13. Hunnius S, de Wit TC, Vrins S, von Hofsten C. Facing threat: Infants' and adults' visual scanning of faces with neutral, happy, sad, angry, and fearful emotional expressions. Cognition and Emotion. 2011 Feb 1;25(2):193–205. pmid:21432667

14. Hunnius S, Geuze RH. Developmental changes in visual scanning of dynamic faces and abstract stimuli in infants: A longitudinal study. Infancy. 2004 Oct 1;6(2):231–55.

15. Birmingham E, Meixner T, Iarocci G, Kanan C, Smilek D, Tanaka JW. The moving window technique: A window into developmental changes in attention during facial emotion recognition. Child Development. 2013 Jul;84(4):1407–24. pmid:23252761

16. Amso D, Fitzgerald M, Davidow J, Gilhooly T, Tottenham N. Visual exploration strategies and the development of infants’ facial emotion discrimination. Frontiers in Psychology. 2010 Nov 1;1:180. pmid:21833241

17. Teufel C, Alexis DM, Todd H, Lawrance-Owen AJ, Clayton NS, Davis G. Social cognition modulates the sensory coding of observed gaze direction. Current Biology. 2009 Aug 11;19(15):1274–7. pmid:19559619

18. Teufel C, Fletcher PC, Davis G. Seeing other minds: attributed mental states influence perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2010 Aug 31;14(8):376–82. pmid:20576464

19. Boraston Z, Blakemore SJ, Chilvers R, Skuse D. Impaired sadness recognition is linked to social interaction deficit in autism. Neuropsychologia. 2007 Jan 1;45(7):1501–10. pmid:17196998

20. Dalton KM, Nacewicz BM, Johnstone T, Schaefer HS, Gernsbacher MA, Goldsmith HH, et al., Gaze fixation and the neural circuitry of face processing in autism. Nature Neuroscience. 2005 Apr;8(4):519. pmid:15750588

21. Klin A, Jones W, Schultz R, Volkmar F, Cohen D. Visual fixation patterns during viewing of naturalistic social situations as predictors of social competence in individuals with autism. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2002 Sep 1;59(9):809–16. pmid:12215080

22. Spezio ML, Adolphs R, Hurley RS, Piven J. Abnormal use of facial information in high-functioning autism. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. 2007 May 1;37(5):929–39. pmid:17006775

23. de Wit TC, Falck-Ytter T, von Hofsten C. Young children with autism spectrum disorder look differently at positive versus negative emotional faces. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2008 Oct 1;2(4):651–9.

24. Wagner JB, Hirsch SB, Vogel-Farley VK, Redcay E, Nelson CA. Eye-tracking, autonomic, and electrophysiological correlates of emotional face processing in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2013 Jan 1;43(1):188–99. pmid:22684525

25. Geangu E, Ichikawa H, Lao J, Kanazawa S, Yamaguchi MK, Caldara R, et al. Culture shapes 7-month-olds’ perceptual strategies in discriminating facial expressions of emotion. Current Biology. 2016 Jul 25;26(14):R663–4. pmid:27458908

26. Reschke PJ, Walle EA, Dukes D. Interpersonal development in infancy: The interconnectedness of emotion understanding and social cognition. Child Development Perspectives. 2017 Sep;11(3):178–83.

27. Falck‐Ytter T, Fernell E, Gillberg C, Von Hofsten C. Face scanning distinguishes social from communication impairments in autism. Developmental Science. 2010 Nov;13(6):864–75. pmid:20977557

28. Poulin-Dubois D, Chow V. The effect of a looker’s past reliability on infants’ reasoning about beliefs. Developmental Psychology. 2009 Nov;45(6):1576. pmid:19899915

29. Sodian B. Theory of mind in infancy. Child Development Perspectives. 2011 Mar;5(1):39–43.

30. Peltola MJ, Leppänen JM, Palokangas T, Hietanen JK. Fearful faces modulate looking duration and attention disengagement in 7‐month‐old infants. Developmental Science. 2008 Jan;11(1):60–8. pmid:18171368

31. Southgate V, Senju A, Csibra G. Action anticipation through attribution of false belief by 2-year-olds. Psychological Science. 2007 Jul;18(7):587–92. pmid:17614866

32. Wellman HM, Woolley JD. From simple desires to ordinary beliefs: The early development of everyday psychology. Cognition. 1990 Sep: 35(1).

33. Flavell JH, Everett BA, Croft K, Flavell ER. Young children's knowledge about visual perception: Further evidence for the Level 1–Level 2 distinction. Developmental Psychology. 1981 Jan;17(1):99.

34. Aviezer H, Ensenberg N, Hassin RR. The inherently contextualized nature of facial emotion perception. Current Opinion in Psychology. 2017 Oct 1;17:47–54. pmid:28950972

35. Charman T, Ruffman T, Clements W. Is there a gender difference in false belief development?. Social Development. 2002 Jan;11(1):1–0.

36. Hall JK, Hutton SB, Morgan MJ. Sex differences in scanning faces: Does attention to the eyes explain female superiority in facial expression recognition?. Cognition & Emotion. 2010 Jun 1;24(4):629–37.

37. Dunn J, Brown J, Slomkowski C, Tesla C, Youngblade L. Young children's understanding of other people's feelings and beliefs: Individual differences and their antecedents. Child Development. 1991 Dec;62(6):1352–66. pmid:1786720

38. McClure EB. A meta-analytic review of sex differences in facial expression processing and their development in infants, children, and adolescents. Psychological Bulletin. 2000 May;126(3):424. pmid:10825784

39. Rosenberg-Kima RB, Sadeh A. Attention, response inhibition, and face-information processing in children: The role of task characteristics, age, and gender. Child Neuropsychology. 2010 Jul 12;16(4):388–404. pmid:20574865

40. Knoll M, Charman T. Teaching false belief and visual perspective taking skill sin young children: Can a theory of mind be trained?. Child Study Journal. 2000 Dec 1;30(4)273–. Retrieved from http://0-search.ebscohost.com.mercury.concordia.ca/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psych&AN=2001-01043-004&site=ehost-live&scope=site

41. Moll H, Meltzoff AN, Merzsch K, Tomasello M. Taking versus confronting visual perspectives in preschool children. Developmental Psychology. 2013 Apr;49(4):646. pmid:22612438

42. Lupyan G. Changing what you see by changing what you know: the role of attention. Frontiers in Psychology. 2017 May 1;8:553. pmid:28507524

43. Teufel C, Nanay B. How to (and how not to) think about top-down influences on visual perception. Consciousness and Cognition. 2017 Jan 1;47:17–25. pmid:27238628

44. Emberson LL, Richards JE, Aslin RN. Top-down modulation in the infant brain: Learning-induced expectations rapidly affect the sensory cortex at 6 months. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2015 Aug 4;112(31):9585–90. pmid:26195772

45. Gliga T, Csibra G. Seeing the face through the eyes: a developmental perspective on face expertise. Progress in Brain Research. 2007 Jan 1;164:323–39. pmid:17920440

46. Kinnunen S, Korkman M, Laasonen M, Lahti-Nuuttila P. Development of Face Recognition in 5-to 15-Year-Olds. Journal of Cognition and Development. 2013 Oct 1;14(4):617–32.

47. Alexander GM, Hawkins LB, Wilcox T, Hirshkowitz A. Infants Prefer Female Body Phenotypes; Infant Girls Prefer They Have an Hourglass Shape. Frontiers in psychology. 2016 Jun 7;7:804. pmid:27375509

48. Quinn PC, Yahr J, Kuhn A, Slater AM, Pascalis O. Representation of the gender of human faces by infants: A preference for female. Perception. 2002 Sep;31(9):1109–21. pmid:12375875

49. Cattaneo Z, Schiavi S, Lega C, Renzi C, Tagliaferri M, Boehringer J, et al., Biases in spatial bisection induced by viewing male and female faces. Experimental psychology. 2014. pmid:24614871

50. Hall JA. Gender effects in decoding nonverbal cues. Psychological bulletin. 1978 Jul;85(4):845.

51. Kret ME, De Gelder B. A review on sex differences in processing emotional signals. Neuropsychologia. 2012 Jun 1;50(7):1211–21. pmid:22245006

52. Hinnant JB, O'Brien M. Cognitive and emotional control and perspective taking and their relations to empathy in 5-year-old children. The Journal of Genetic Psychology. 2007 Sep 1;168(3):301–22. pmid:18200891

53. Rose AJ, Rudolph KD. A review of sex differences in peer relationship processes: potential trade-offs for the emotional and behavioral development of girls and boys. Psychological Bulletin. 2006 Jan;132(1):98. pmid:16435959

54. Zahn-Waxler C. The development of empathy, guilt, and internalization of distress: Implications for gender differences in internalizing and externalizing problems. Anxiety, Depression, and Emotion. 2000:222–65.

55. Volbrecht MM, Lemery-Chalfant K, Aksan N, Zahn-Waxler C, Goldsmith HH. Examining the familial link between positive affect and empathy development in the second year. The Journal of Genetic Psychology. 2007 Jun 1;168(2):105–30. pmid:17936968

56. Hastings PD, Zahn-Waxler C, McShane K. We are, by nature, moral creatures: Biological bases of concern for others. Handbook of Moral Development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum; 2006
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Back to top Back to top