Sensitive periods in face perception

In Andy Calder, Gillian Rhodes, Mark Johnson & Jim Haxby (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Face Perception. Oxford University Press (2011)
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Abstract

Infants possess only rudimentary face-processing skills, evidence from patients treated for congenital cataract and from monkeys deprived of face input for several months postnatally indicates that this early experience plays a key role in the ultimate development of expert face processing. This article provides evidence that early visual deprivation disrupts some but not all aspects of face processing and that the deficits caused by early visual deprivation are face-specific, but that it is visual deprivation rather than the lack of input from faces per se that causes the deficits to occur. The evidence is placed from visually deprived monkeys and humans into a broader context showing the role of biased experience on the development of expert face processing.

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