The human eye with its prominent white sclera is thought to facilitate social and cooperative interactions among humans. While there is evidence for brain mechanisms that allow for the unconscious detection of eye cues in adults, it is not known whether this ability of the human brain emerges early in ontogeny and can therefore be considered a key feature of human social functioning. The current study provides neural evidence for the unconscious detection of emotion and gaze cues from the sclera in 7-mo-old infants. Our findings demonstrate the existence of fast, efficient, and reliable social cue detection mechanisms in the human infant brain that likely provide a vital foundation for the development of social interactive skills.Source :PNAS 2014 111: 16208-16213.
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