ArticlePDF Available

Here's Looking at You, Kid! A Longitudinal Study of Perceived Gender Differences in Mutual Gaze Behavior in Young Infants


Abstract and Figures

The purpose of this study was to examine the origins of gender differences in mutual gaze between infants and unfamiliar adults, using a prospective longitudinal design. Infant gaze behavior was measured twice: 13–112-hr and 13–18-weeks postpartum. Gender differences were found at Visit 2 due to an increase in girls' gaze behavior. Girls also made more eye contact in female–female dyads and in the second interaction over the first. Boys' behavior remained unchanged over time. The data provide evidence for gender differences in mutual gaze in a younger sample and wider context than previously demonstrated. Results are discussed in the context of social learning (i.e., Martin & Fabes, 2001, theory of singular polarization) and psychobiological theories of gender development.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
Sex Roles, Vol. 50, Nos. 1/2, January 2004 (C°2004)
Here’s Looking at You, Kid! A Longitudinal Study
of Perceived Gender Differences in Mutual Gaze
Behavior in Young Infants
Rebecca T. Leeb1,3 and F. Gillian Rejskind2
The purpose of this study was to examine the origins of gender differences in mutual gaze
between infants and unfamiliar adults, using a prospective longitudinal design. Infant gaze
behavior was measured twice: 13–112-hr and 13–18-weeks postpartum. Gender differences
were found at Visit 2 due to an increase in girls’ gaze behavior. Girls also made more eye contact
in female–female dyads and in the second interaction over the first. Boys’ behavior remained
unchanged over time. The data provide evidence for gender differences in mutual gaze in a
younger sample and wider context than previously demonstrated. Results are discussed in the
context of social learning (i.e., Martin & Fabes, 2001, theory of “singular polarization”) and
psychobiological theories of gender development.
KEY WORDS: gender differences; infant development; eye contact; gender development.
Open your eyes. Oh, come on now, open up your
eyes ... if you open your eyes, I will know you are
alive (Mother to her newborn; Klaus, Kennell,
Plumb, & Zuehlke, 1970, p. 190).
Eye-to-eye contact with another person (mu-
tual eye contact) is one of the most salient nonver-
bal behaviors in human interaction and plays vari-
ous roles throughout life. Gaze behavior is the first
dyadic system of communication over which infants
have control, is the first form of social exchange be-
tween an infant and his/her mother, and has been
posited to play a vital role in the mother–infant bond
(Greenman, 1963; Haith, Bergman, & Moore, 1977;
Klaus & Kennell, 1976; Klaus, Kennell, Plumb, &
Zuenlke, 1970; Lavelli & Fogel, 2002; Lohaus, Keller,
& Voelker, 2001; Moss & Robson, 1968; Rhinegold,
1963; Robson, 1967; Stern, 1974). In fact, a number
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
2McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
3To whom correspondence should be addressed at Division of
Violence Prevention, NCIPC, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy. NE, Mailstop K60, Atlanta,
Georgia 30341; e-mail:
of influential researchers believe that the role of eye-
to-eye contact between mother and infant is so vital
that it should be added to Bowlby’s (Bowlby, 1958)
list of innate “releasers” of maternal caretaking re-
sponses (Arco, Self, & Gutrecht, 1979; Fraiberg, 1974;
Klaus & Kennell, 1976; Klaus et al., 1970; Rhinegold,
1963; Robson, 1967; Stern, 1974; van Wulften Plathe
& Hopkins, 1984). Over the course of development
the role of mutual eye contact remains a central com-
ponent of social interactions. Later in life it provides
a number of important social cues including inter-
est, attention, affiliation and intimacy, approval, dom-
inance and aggression, and openness to personal in-
volvement (Argyle & Ingham, 1972; Brooks, Church,
& Fraser, 1986; Exline, 1963; Knackstedt & Kleinke,
One of the most striking research findings re-
lated to mutual eye contact is the presence of gen-
der differences in the duration and frequency of mu-
tual gaze. In general, girls and women are more likely
than boys and men to engage in mutual eye contact
with another person for longer periods of time, par-
ticularly if that person is female (Argyle & Ingham,
1972; Mulac, Studley, Wiemann, & Bradac, 1987). This
10360-0025/04/0100-0001/0 C
°2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
2 Leeb and Rejskind
gender difference was well documented in early re-
search in all age groups from late infancy through
adulthood (Exline, 1963; Kleinke, 1986; Levine &
Sutton-Smith, 1973; Moss & Robson, 1968; Robson,
Pedersen, & Moss, 1969).
Given the importance of mutual eye contact in
human interaction across the lifespan, and the pres-
ence of gender differences in this behavior pattern
from late infancy onward, the question of its origins
becomes exigent: Are gender differences in mutual
eye contact present at birth or do they develop over
time? Study of early gender differences in mutual gaze
behavior has the potential to be instrumental in un-
raveling the differential effects of biological and social
influences on the development of gendered social be-
havior through the systematic examination of a spe-
cific, fundamental social behavior.
The early research discussed above generally
focused on behavior in a holistic manner, and
researchers applied a single distinct theoretical
paradigm (social learning) to elucidate the origins
and development of gender differences in gaze be-
havior. With respect to mutual gaze, social learning
theorists believe that eye contact and mutual gaze be-
havior are a specific component of the feminine gen-
der role acquired by girls through cultural forces, peer
relationships, or within the nuclear family (Kleinke,
Desautels, & Knapp, 1977; Levine & Sutton-Smith,
1973; Pilkonis, 1977; Podoruzek & Furrow, 1988; Post
& Heatherington, 1974; Russo, 1975; Tannen, 1990;
Vlietstra & Manske, 1981). The majority of the so-
cial learning research in this area focuses on devel-
opmental periods from late infancy through adult-
hood, and demonstrates a consistent pattern in which
girls and women engage in more mutual eye contact
than boys and men (e.g., Argyle & Ingham, 1972;
Benenson, 1993; Exline, 1963; Lasky & Klein, 1979;
Levine & Sutton-Smith, 1973). This pattern is partic-
ularly strong in female–female dyads. Research find-
ings suggest the possibility that this pattern is context-
specific and in cross-sex interactions boys and girls
may not conform to the same patterns of mutual gaze
that are seen in same-sex interactions (Argyle & Ing-
ham, 1972; Mulac et al., 1987). However, because the
research focuses on developmental periods in which
biological and social determinants of behavior are in-
exorably intertwined, the difficulties in determining
when the learning of this behavior pattern begins and
whether there are any precursors to its development
are exacerbated.
Recent research however, has focused on decon-
structing infant behavior into its various socioemo-
tional, psychobiological, and cognitive components.
Research on the socioemotional aspect of the devel-
opment of infant eye contact behavior continues to
focus on environmental and social learning theories
(e.g., Cherry, 1992; Fagot, Leinbach, & O’Boyle, 1992;
Pomerleau, Bolduc, Malcuit, & Cossette, 1990; for re-
view see: Ruble & Martin, 1998) with peers, rather
than adults, as the impetus for shaping gendered be-
havior as the child develops (Maccoby, 1990; Martin,
1999; Martin & Fabes, 2001).
Conversely, psychobiological research focuses on
the internal, biological determinants responsible for
sexually dimorphic patterns of behavior. Theorists
in this area postulate that developmental sequelae,
whether physiological or socioemotional, are inter-
nally hard-wired and will manifest over time regard-
less of their overt presence at birth or any attempt
to alter their developmental course (Berenbaum &
Snyder, 1995; Diamond & Sigmundson, 1997; Hines
& Kaufman, 1994; Slijper, Drop, Molenaar, & de
Muinck Keizer-Schrama, 1998; Zucker, 1996). A large
portion of the social research in this area focuses
on children with genetic disorders that cause dis-
cordance between sexual genotype and phenotype
(Berenbaum & Hines, 1992; Berenbaum & Snyder,
1995; Hines & Kaufman, 1994). No research in this
area has focused specifically on gaze behavior.
Finally, a substantial body of cognitive research
has been devoted to the physiological development of
eye contact, the ontogeny of tracking faces, and face
recognition in neonates and young infants. Numerous
studies have demonstrated that newborns and young
infants prefer and are more likely to track face-forms
and live faces, particularly their own mothers, over
other patterns and schematic drawings (Corkum &
Moore, 1998; Ellsworth, Muir, & Hains, 1993; Frick
& Colombo, 1996; Pascalis, de Schonen, Morton,
Deruelle, & Fabre-Grenet, 1995; Slater et al., 1998,
2000), which suggests that young infants may be pre-
disposed to attend to certain social stimuli, such as
human faces. In addition, cognitive researchers have
demonstrated that newborns and young infants ac-
tively engage in mutual gaze behavior with adults
(Hains & Muir, 1996; Muir, Hains, & Symons, 1994;
Valenza, Simion, Cassia, & Umilt`a, 1996) and that
mutual gaze in combination with other stimuli has a
calming effect on young infants (Blass & Camp, 2001;
Lohaus et al., 2001; Zeifman, Delaney, & Blass, 1996).
Although the origins of gender differences in
some social behaviors have received substantial theo-
retical and empirical attention, researchers have yet to
reach consensus. The independent work done in each
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
Mutual Gaze Behavior 3
of the domains of infant development has provided a
solid foundation on which to build. Given the impor-
tance of mutual gaze in social interaction, its role in
early social development, the well-documented pat-
tern of gender differences in its expression, and the
fact that the world in which we interact is an amal-
gamation of the various domains of development, it
is necessary once again to take a holistic approach to
the study of infant behavior.
In this study we investigated the relationship be-
tween gender and mutual gaze behavior in a manner
that is not solely dependent on social learning or bi-
ological influences. This research was designed to ad-
dress whether gender differences in mutual gaze be-
havior are present at birth and how these differences
develop and change over the first 4 months of life. The
study focused on neonates, a sample that is unlikely
to have been influenced by social and cultural mores,
and very young infants, who have been exposed to
social and cultural forces. It was designed as a lon-
gitudinal follow-up to, and extension of, early work
by Hittelman and Dickes (1979) in which evidence
of sexually dimorphic gaze behavior in neonates was
found. In their study of infants 24–60-hr postpar-
tum, Hittelman and Dickes demonstrated that female
neonates engaged in greater eye contact with a female
interacter than did male neonates.
The current approach allows for a more thor-
ough investigation of the different trajectories along
which the development of gender differences in mu-
tual gaze behavior occurs. Two testing times, selected
in correspondence with periods of rapid perceptual
and cognitive development (Dodwell, Humphrey, &
Muir, 1987; Lavelli & Fogel, 2002), were usedto inves-
tigate the cumulative effects of socialization on pos-
sible pre-existing behavior patterns. Multiple interac-
ters of both sexes were employed in order to decrease
the potential for bias.
The hypotheses for this study were as follows:
(1) It was predicted that girls would make more mu-
tual eye contact than boys would with the interacter
(regardless of interacter sex) at both testing times.
This hypothesis was based on research that demon-
strated a pattern of greater mutual eye contact by fe-
male infants (Hittelman & Dickes, 1979; Lavelli &
Fogel, 2002; Moss & Robson, 1968; Robson et al.,
1969); (2) It was predicted that the differential pat-
tern of gaze behavior would increase in strength over
time as the perceptual system matures and infants
are exposed to continued biological development and
gender-typed socializing influences; and (3) Based on
research that demonstrated differing behavior pat-
terns in same- versus cross-sex interactions (Argyle &
Ingham, 1972; Mulac et al., 1987), it was predicted that
mutual eye contact in same-sex interactions would
be greater than mutual gaze behavior in cross-sex
Visit 1
Seventy healthy newborns (38 boys, 32 girls),
born at a large urban hospital located in the south-
western portion of Quebec, Canada, and their par-
ents volunteered to participate in the study. Treat-
ment of all participants was in accordance with the
ethical standards of the American Psychological As-
sociation (APA, 2001) and all institutions involved.
The newborns ranged in age from 13 to 112.25 hr
(M=52.44 hr, SD =26.0), were full term (mean
gestational age =39.49 weeks, SD =1.35), of nor-
mal birth weight (M=3433.4g,SD =480.59), born
without any reported complications, and had Apgar
scores greater than 8 at 5 min. (Additional character-
istics of the infant sample are described in Table I.)
Because researchers have postulated that Cesarean-
section (C/S) delivery and the obstetric medications
associated with it have no significant effect on post-
natal infant behavior (e.g., Davis & Emory, 1995;
Gunnar, Porter, Wolf, Rigatuso, & Larson, 1995;
Trowell, 1982), infants born by spontaneous vaginal
delivery (SVD), C/S, forceps, and vacuum-assisted de-
livery were considered eligible for participation.
Mothers of the newborns ranged in age from
20.7 to 40.8 years (M=30.9 years, SD =4.96).
Table I. Sample Characteristics: Infants
%(n)M(SD) Range
Visit 1 (N=70)
Delivery type
C/S 60.0 (42)
SVD 28.6 (20)
Other 11.4 (8)
Age at participation (hr) 49.7 (26.0) 13.0 – 112.3
Boys 51.5 (24.80) 13.0 – 102.3
Girls 53.4 (27.67) 23.8 – 112.3
Visit 2 (N=23)
Age (weeks) 14.9 (1.23) 13.1 – 18.1
Boys 14.8 (1.12) 13.3 – 17.1
Girls 15.0 (1.44) 13.1 – 18.1
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
4 Leeb and Rejskind
Multiparous mothers had an average of two children,
including the new baby, and 41.4% of the mothers
were primiparous. The majority of the parents in the
sample were White (77.1%), 14.3% were Black, and
the remainder were Latino/a, Asian, or East Indian. A
small percentage of the mothers (1.4%) did not report
their ethnicity/race. Approximately 79% of the moth-
ers in the sample reported speaking English as the
primary language at home, and the remainder spoke
French (7.1%), Yiddish (4.3%), or another language.
All parents spoke English well enough to understand
and participate in the study as determined by a short
informal interview.
Participants represented a broad range of family
income. The average annual household income4for
20% of the participants was less than $29,999, 20%
of the participants reported an annual income in the
range of $30,000–$49,999, 24.3% reported incomes in
the $50,000 to $69,999 range, and 17.1% reported an
annual household income greater than $70,000. No
information regarding annual household income was
provided by 18.6% of the sample.
Participant recruitment. We recruited potential
participants (mothers and fathers) in-hospital. The
study procedure was explained, and informed con-
sent was acquired. Parents could choose the time to
participate, and they were encouraged to come as
soon as their infant was awake and calm. Participants
were permitted to accompany their infant to the study
room and to watch the interaction. We instructed
all participants that the infant must be dressed in a
gender-neutral outfit and that the interacters in the
study room must remain unaware of the baby’s sex
throughout the interaction, as well as after the inter-
action was complete. Because parents often had either
pink or blue outfits for their newborn, many opted to
dress their baby in the white outfits provided by the
Study room. The interaction took place in an un-
used overflow patient room on the postpartum unit.
We decided that the study should take place in a room
other than the mother’s room in order to decrease
the potential for distraction and interruption during
the interaction (e.g., ringing phone, extraneous noise,
visitors), as well as to decrease the likelihood that
4The average annual income for a Canadian family is $55,247
(Statistics Canada, 1995).
something in the room would provide clues to the
interacters as to the sex of the infant.
The interaction. Only the study coordinator (the
first author) knew the sex of the participating infants
and the purpose and specific hypotheses of the study.
To keep the interacters blind to the sex of the infant
all identifying information on the infant’s bassinet was
covered or removed upon arrival to the study room.
Interacters sat throughout the procedure and
alternated between two roles: (a) interacter with
the infant (“looker”); and (b) holder of the infant
(“holder”). Use of the male and female interacters
was counterbalanced within and across days, and it
was decided prior to participant arrival who would
interact with the infant (i.e., act as looker) first. While
the looker attempted to make eye contact with the
infant, the holder held the infant facing away from
himself or herself (toward the looker) in the full up-
right position (at an angle of approximately 90)on
his or her lap. The looker sat across from the infant
with his or her eyes at the same level as the infant’s
eyes. The looker was also responsible for recording
eye contact with the infant using a laptop computer
programmed to function as an event recorder.
To begin the interaction the looker sat with his or
her face 8–10 in. from the infant’s face and introduced
him or herself to the infant as follows, “Hi baby. My
name is Xxxx, and I’m going to look at you for a little
while.” The interaction began immediately thereafter
and continued for 3 min. Because a “still-face” ex-
perimental design has been found to be distressing to
infants this paradigm was not used (c.f., Weinberg &
Tronick, 1996). Instead, we adopted a more naturalis-
tic approach in which the looker maintained a pleas-
ant, but active, facial expression. No other speaking
followed the introduction, as it has been shown that
speech has no effect on newborn attention or eye con-
tact (Hittelman & Dickes, 1979).
To control the looker’s visual input the interac-
ters were instructed to gaze at the baby’s eyes con-
tinuously throughout the duration of the interaction.
Thus, “eye contact” referred only to the infant’s gaze
behavior and was defined as those times when the
interacter perceived that the infant’s eyes met his or
her eyes. When the computer signaled the end of the
3-min period the looker and holder switched roles,
and the interaction was repeated with the new looker
following the same procedure outlined earlier.
After both interacters had acted as looker, the in-
fant was returned to the bassinet, and the interacters
thanked the parent(s). The study coordinator then ac-
companied the parent(s) back to the mother’s room
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
Mutual Gaze Behavior 5
whereupon she asked if the parent(s) would be willing
to be called and invited to participate in a 3.5-month
follow-up study designed to see if infants’ gaze behav-
ior changed over time. She explained that the follow-
up study would take place in the same study room on
the postpartum unit and would involve the same in-
teraction with the infant. Parents were informed that
agreeing to be called about the follow-up study in
no way obligated them to participate. Those parents
who agreed to be contacted were asked to provide
their first name only (to protect confidentiality) and a
phone number where they could be reached.
Visit 2
Twenty-three infants (9 girls, 14 boys), partic-
ipated in the follow-up study approximately 3.5-
months postpartum. The infants were healthy and be-
tween 13.14 and 18.14 weeks of age (M=14.91 weeks,
SD =1.23) at Visit 2 participation. The gender distri-
bution by mean age of the infant follow-up sample is
listed in Table I.
Participant recruitment. Fifty-nine participants
(84% of the original sample) agreed to be contacted
regarding the follow-up study. To give parents suffi-
cient time to plan ahead, participants who had agreed
to be contacted were called when their infant was ap-
proximately 12 weeks of age.
Attrition was an issue as is the case in many lon-
gitudinal studies. Although the majority of the par-
ticipants agreed to be contacted about the follow-up
study, only 39% of those contacted were able to partic-
ipate (28% of girls, 37% of boys). Parents who agreed
to participate in the follow-up study were reminded
of the procedure for the study. They were also re-
minded that the infant’s sex must remain unknown to
the interacters and that the baby should be dressed
in something gender-neutral. Participants were given
an appointment (at their convenience) to come for
the study and a reminder call the night before their
appointment. During the call parents were again told
that the baby’s sex must remain unknown to the in-
teracters and reminded to dress the infant in gender-
neutral clothing.
Study room. The follow-up study took place in
the same study room at the hospital as the original
interaction. Although attrition would likely have been
reduced if we had conducted the follow-up study at
the parents’ homes, we decided that maintaining a
constant environment across the two parts of the study
would be best. In addition, it would be significantly
more difficult to keep the interacters blind to the sex
of the infant at the parents’ homes.
The interaction. The follow-up interaction fol-
lowed the identical procedure as was used at Visit 1.
Experimenters/“Interacters” (Visits 1 and 2)
We recruited an ethnically diverse pool of 10 un-
dergraduate students (4 men, 6 women) to interact
with the infants at both testing times. The students
were kept blind to the sex of participating infants, as
well as to the purpose and specific hypotheses of the
study. Students were extensively trained in the proper
procedure for holding and carrying newborns, as well
as the procedure for the study. Interacters worked in
pairs (one man, one woman), and they were matched
as closely as possible on physical characteristics (e.g.,
race, hair color, eye color). To reduce bias due to
clothing worn by the experimenters, all experimenters
wore a pink hospital gown (tied at the back) over their
clothing. Female experimenters with long hair pulled
their hair back from their faces. The use of multiple
“blind” interacters decreased the potential for bias
due to the sex of the infant, physical characteristics of
individual interacters, or individual interacter bias.
Interrater reliability
It was not possible to calculate interrater relia-
bility because we used a live-code protocol to collect
the data. Intercoder assessment requires either split-
screen video recording of the interaction or concur-
rent coding by two interacters during the interaction.
Split-screen video techniques do not allow an accu-
rate assessment of when the baby is looking at the
adult’s eyes. As Haith et al. (1977) pointed out, third-
person observation can determine validly when the
baby looks at the general face area but not when the
baby is looking at the adult’s eyes. Concurrent coding
compounds the nonspecificity of gaze direction with
an inability of the observer to get close enough to
the dyad to determine eye behavior without disturb-
ing the interaction. As such, we decided to preserve a
naturalistic interaction within the dyad at the expense
of strict experimental protocol.
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
6 Leeb and Rejskind
To record mutual eye contact between the infant
and the interacter as a live code (as opposed to using
videotapes of each interaction) a 486 Modular Acer-
Note laptop computer was used as an event recorder.
The event recorder program, written in QuickBasic
(version 4.5), was created such that the individual
recording eye contact behavior (i.e., the looker) used
either the spacebar key (if the infant was making eye
contact) or the letter “b” key (if the infant was not
making eye contact) to begin the interaction. Using
either of these keys cued the program to begin the
timer and to record data as they were entered. The
spacebar key was then used as an on–off switch to in-
dicate when the infant was making eye contact with
the interacter. Research assistants placed one hand
in the proper place on the keyboard before begin-
ning the interaction in order to avoid breaking gaze
with the infant once the interaction was under way.
After 180 s the computer beeped to signal the end
of the interaction and then stopped recording data.
A display was given (and saved) that contained
the following information: starting behavior (ei-
ther eye contact or no eye contact), total duration
(for eye contact and no eye contact), mean
duration (for eye contact and no eye contact), and
frequency (for eye contact and no eye contact).
We analyzed all data using SPSS (version 10.0
for Windows). An alpha level of .05 was used for all
statistical tests. Three measures of mutual gaze behav-
ior [mean total duration of mutual eye contact (“to-
tal duration”), frequency of mutual eye contact (“fre-
quency”), and mean duration of each glance (“mean
duration”)] were analyzed.
Associations Among Measures of Eye Contact
Correlational analyses were conducted to exam-
ine relations among aspects of infants’ visual behav-
ior. Mean and total duration of mutual eye contact
between infants and interacters were significantly cor-
related at both testing times, Visit 1: r(130) =.85,
p<.001; Visit 2: r(46) =.68, p<.001.Total dura-
tion of mutual eye contact was also significantly corre-
lated with frequency of mutual gaze at both Visit 1 and
Visit 2: r(130) =.31, p<.001, r(46) =.49, p<.001,
Associations Between Measures of Eye
Contact and Other Variables
We examined the relationship between infant
age and measures of eye contact to determine
whether significant age differences existed because
the range of ages at which infants were tested at
both Visit 1 and Visit 2 was wide. No significant
correlations were found between infant age and
measures of mutual gaze behavior at either testing
To determine whether C/S delivery had a sig-
nificant effect on infant gaze behavior, correlations
between type of delivery (C/S, spontaneous vaginal,
and low forceps/mid vacuum/vacuum-assisted deliv-
ery) and measures of eye contact were calculated. No
relationship between delivery type and measures of
infant gaze behavior was found.
Comparison of participants lost to follow-up with
those who participated at Visit 2 is displayed in
Table II (means are presented where appropriate).
Because the majority of the data is categorical, the
“median” column for those variables is included. Par-
ents who chose not to return for the follow-up testing
were slightly better educated, reported a higher fam-
ily income, and had infants who were older at Visit 1
testing than those who chose to participate at Visit 2.
The difference in infant age at Visit 1 testing is not
likely to have affected the results in light of the fact
that no significant relationship was found between in-
fant age at the initial testing and measures of mutual
gaze behavior. Median ethnicity, delivery type, and
mean maternal age did not differ between the two
In addition, to determine whether any differ-
ence in measures of gaze duration existed between
infants who returned for the follow up testing and
those who did not, three 2 ×2 analyses of vari-
ance for the effects of infant sex and return for
follow-up on the three measures of gaze behav-
ior were calculated. No significant differences were
found. Thus, although many participants were lost
to follow-up, attrition did not change the general
characteristics of the sample. (Comparison of means
and standard deviations for infants who returned for
follow-up versus those who did not can be found in
Table III.)
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
Mutual Gaze Behavior 7
Table II. Characteristics of Participants at Visit 2 Versus Those Lost to Follow-Up
Participated Visit 2 Did not participate V2
Mean Median Mean Median
Maternal characteristics
Age (years.) 31.71 31.04
Education CEGEPaSome university
Ethnicity White White
Income $30–$49.9 K $50–$69.9 K
Infant characteristics
Delivery type C/SbC/Sb
Age at V1 (hr) 43.68 56.60
aCEGEPs (College d’enseignement general et professionnel) are postsecondary ed-
ucational institutions designed to train technologists for an advanced industrial soci-
ety and prepare Quebec high-school students who wish to pursue studies at univer-
sity; Info/cegep.html#cegeps) CEGEP
consists of grade 12 and 1 to 2 preuniversity year(s) and culminates in the receipt
of a DEC (Diplome d’Etudes Collegiales).
bCesarean-section delivery.
Analyses of Variance
ANOVA was used to address the relationship
among infant sex, interacter sex, and infant mutual
gaze behavior. To address the question of whether
girls make more mutual eye contact with the interac-
ters than boys, regardless of interacter sex, at Visit 1,
three 2 ×2 ANOVAs were calculated for the effects
of infant sex and interacter sex on frequency of eye
contact, and total and mean duration of eye contact
at Visit 1. No significant main effects or interactions
were found. Thus, no gender differences were indi-
cated for any of the three measures of mutual eye
contact in the newborn sample.
To investigate whether mutual gaze behavior
changed over time, 2 (infant sex) ×2 (interacter sex) ×
Table III. Measures of Eye Contact at Visit 1 for Infants Who
Participated at Visit 2 Versus Those Lost to Follow-upa
Participated Did not participate
Visit 2 Visit 2
Mean SD Mean SD
Total eye contact
Total sample 19.24 35.7 25.25 39.7
Boys 24.75 45.6 28.82 41.4
Girls 10.97 7.7 21.68 38.5
Mean eye contact
Total sample 2.17 3.4 2.70 5.3
Boys 2.61 4.4 2.37 3.1
Girls 1.51 0.5 3.03 6.9
Total sample 7.80 5.2 9.39 6.3
Boys 8.00 5.5 11.64 6.8
Girls 7.50 5.0 9.39 6.3
aAll comparisons ns.
2 (visit) ANOVAs were conducted for each of the
three measures of mutual gaze behavior. We found
significant main effects in the expected direction for
infant sex for two of the three measures of mutual
gaze: total duration, F(1, 175) =8.41, p=.004, and
mean duration, F(1, 175) =6.33, p=.013. A signifi-
cant main effect was also found for change over time
(visit) for all three measures of mutual gaze: total du-
ration: F(1, 175) =19.56, p<.0001; mean duration:
F(1, 175) =9.34, p=.003; and frequency: F(1, 175) =
7.02, p=.009.
Two-way interaction effects for Infant sex ×visit
emerged for each of the three measures of gaze be-
havior: total duration: F(1, 175) =14.74, p<.0001;
mean duration: F(1, 175) =10.46, p=.001; and
frequency: F(1, 175) =7.28, p=.008. Figures 1
and 2 present the interaction effects for total and
mean duration. In both figures it can be seen that
the increase in mutual gaze over time is the result of
a substantial change in girls’ mutual gaze behavior,
whereas boys’ gaze behavior remains relatively
stable. Figure 3 shows evidence of a similar pattern
for frequency of girls’ and boys’ gaze behavior;
mutual gaze between female infants and the inter-
acters increases in frequency over time, whereas the
frequency of male infants’ gaze behavior remains
An interesting three-way interaction for infant
sex ×interacter sex ×visit emerged for mean gaze
duration: F(1, 175) =4.70, p=.032. When we
examined the data (see Fig. 4), it was evident that
this interaction effect is primarily the result of girls’
behavior with the female interacter at the follow-up
visit. At Visit 2, girls’ mean gaze duration with the
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
8 Leeb and Rejskind
Fig. 1. Change in total duration of eye contact from Visit 1 to Visit 2.
female interacter was four times that of boys’ mean
gaze duration with the female interacter.
We conducted additional analyses to determine
whether there were interacter order effects for any
of the three measures of gaze behavior over time. No
interacter order effects were found for frequency of
gaze. A significant three-way interaction was found
for total gaze duration, F(1, 175) =4.70, p=.032,
but, because there was neither a main effect for in-
teracter order on total gaze duration, nor a significant
interacter order ×visit interaction for this measure,
it is likely that the three-way interaction is due pri-
marily to the significant infant sex ×visit interaction
noted earlier. Interacter order did have an effect on
infants’ mean gaze duration, and significant main ef-
fects and interactions were found. The most notable
of these interactions is the three-way interaction of in-
teracter order ×infant sex ×visit, F(1, 175) =12.13,
p=.001. When cell means were examined (see Fig. 5)
Fig. 2. Change in mean duration of eye contact from Visit 1 to
Visit 2.
Fig. 3. Change in frequency of eye contact from Visit 1 to Visit 2.
we noted that girls’ behavior at Visit 2 is again driv-
ing the interaction. Girls had a substantially longer
mean gaze duration with the second interacter (re-
gardless of interacter sex) at Visit 2. Their mean gaze
was approximately three times longer with the second
interacter than with the first and six times longer than
boys’ mean gaze with the second interacter.
Hypothesis 1
We found strong evidence for gender differences
in both mean and total duration of mutual gaze behav-
ior by the 4th-month postpartum. This demonstrates
Fig. 4. Mean duration of infant eye contact with male and female
interacters at Visits 1 and 2.
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
Mutual Gaze Behavior 9
Fig. 5. Interacter order effects on mean duration of eye contact for
male and female infants at Visits 1 and 2.
several important points. First, it provides evidence
for the presence of this gender-typed behavior pat-
tern in early infancy and indicates that very young in-
fants show a preference for the human face and eyes
(Blass & Camp, 2001; Hains & Muir, 1996; Zeifman
et al., 1996), as well as the same gender-typed gaze pat-
terns that are seen in older infants, children, and adults
(Ashear & Snortum, 1971; Exline, 1963; Exline, Gray,
& Schuette, 1965; Kleinke, 1986; Levine & Sutton-
Smith, 1973; Robson et al., 1969). Second, the current
results extend the evidence for this gender-typed be-
havior pattern, which is generally studied among older
infants and/or within the mother–infant dyad (Fogel,
Messinger, Dickson, & Hsu, 1999; Lohaus et al., 2001;
Lasky & Klein, 1979; Robson et al., 1969; Stern, 1974),
to an even younger population of infants interacting
within an unfamiliar dyad. Thus, gender differences in
mutual gaze behavior are evident at a younger age and
in a wider context than has been previously shown.
Hypothesis 2
Although no significant gender differences were
revealed for any measure of eye contact at Visit 1, the
existence of significant gender differences for mea-
sures of mutual gaze behavior at Visit 2 provides sup-
port for the hypothesis that the differential pattern of
gaze behavior would increase in strength over time. It
is evident that the change is largely due to a significant
increase in girls’ mutual gaze behavior. Boys’ mean
eye contact time with the interacter remained un-
changed from Visit 1 to Visit 2, whereas girls’ mutual
eye contact increased by a factor of four. Data for total
duration of mutual eye contact show a similar pattern:
Although boys’ behavior did not change significantly
from Visit 1 to Visit 2, girls showed a 480% increase
in mutual eye contact behavior over the same time
period. The fact that girls’ behavior changed signifi-
cantly, whereas boys’ behavior remained unchanged,
is an exciting and unique contribution to the literature
on mutual gaze behavior, as well as to the literature on
the development of gender-typed behavior in general.
Hypothesis 3
The behavior of infants at Visit 2 partially sup-
ports the prediction that gaze behavior in same-sex
interactions would be greater than in cross-sex in-
teractions. Girls made significantly more mutual eye
contact with the interacter when the interacter was fe-
male, which mirrors behavior seen in mother–infant
interactions (Lavelli & Fogel, 2002; Pascalis et al.,
1995) and in older girls and women (Argyle & Ingham,
1972; Mulac et al., 1987). Female infants demon-
strated this preference regardless of whether the fe-
male interacter was presented first or second. It is
interesting to note that at the follow-up visit girls also
made greater eye contact with the second interacter
over the first, regardless of interacter sex. In contrast,
boys’ gaze behavior remained unchanged across both
interacter sex and interacter order, and it did not in-
crease significantly from Visit 1 to Visit 2. This may be
related to a sex difference in habituation and an in-
crease in arousal with change from the first stimulus
(interacter) to the second (Pascalis & de Schonen,
1993). Unfortunately little research has been con-
ducted with regard to sex differences in visual habitu-
ation in infants younger than 5 months of age. Further
investigation of this phenomenon is needed.
Strengths and Limitations of the Current Study
The lack of empirical evidence for the pres-
ence of gender differences in the newborn sample
refutes earlier findings that female neonates make
more mutual eye contact with adults than do male
neonates (Hittelman & Dickes, 1979). In the current
study we more than doubled the sample size used by
Hittelman and Dickes (N=30 vs. N=70 at Visit 1
this study), we decreased the opportunity for interac-
ter bias through the use of a pool of interacters and
interaction with two adults—one of each sex rather
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
10 Leeb and Rejskind
than a single female interacter, and we used a longer
interaction period than Hittelman and Dickes (4 vs.
6 min in this study). Further, results of this study sup-
port recent work with regard to a key developmental
transition period in mother–infant face-to-face com-
munication (including mutual gaze) at approximately
2-months postpartum (Lavelli & Fogel, 2002). In ac-
cord with the present findings, Lavelli and Fogel found
that during the 3rd-month postpartum girls spent sig-
nificantly more time actively engaged in face-to-face
communication with their mothers than did boys. The
present findings support this gender difference and
extend it beyond the mother–infant dyad.
It could be suggested that the nonreplication of
Hittelman and Dickes’ findings is due to the fact that
the majority of the current sample was delivered by
C/S, whereas the sample from the earlier study was
born by SVD. Current hospital practice in southwest-
ern Quebec is to discharge infants delivered by un-
complicated SVD within 24 hr after birth. Although
the majority of infants are delivered through SVD,
their quick discharge from the hospital leaves re-
searchers little time to ask for in-hospital participation
in research studies. In addition, during the first 24-hr
postpartum infants are likely to be hyperalert and
poor candidates for studies of behavioral differences
(Zeskind & Marshall, 1991). Finally, given the non-
significant findings for a relationship between type of
delivery and gaze behavior it is unlikely that method
of delivery had an effect on gaze behavior. It appears
that infants delivered by C/S engage in social behav-
iors similar to those born by other delivery methods.
Thus, the present study provides support for research
that demonstrates that C/S delivery and the mater-
nal obstetric medications associated with it have little
effect on postnatal behavior (Davis & Emory, 1995;
Gunnar et al., 1995; Trowell, 1982).
Another potential limitation of the current study
was the inability to measure interrater reliability in the
coding of eye contact behavior. The measurement of
mutual eye-to-eye contact between adults and new-
borns and young infants poses unique methodologi-
cal problems that are rarely explored in the literature.
Although researchers commonly use the terms “eye-
to-eye contact,” “eye contact,” and “mutual gaze” to
describe the adult–infant interaction, what they are
most often measuring is face contact in which one or
both partners in the interaction gazes at the face of
the other (e.g., Fogel, Dedo, & McEwen 1992; van
Wulften Plathe & Hopkins, 1984). Researchers have
used a number of different types of apparatus to mea-
sure mutual gaze, but these methods are often cum-
bersome and do not adequately assess actual eye-to-
eye contact (Haith et al., 1977; Lavelli & Poli, 1998).
Further, although it is reportedly easy to obtain high
inter-observer reliability correlations for determining
when one member of a dyad looks at the face of an-
other, it is eye contact, not face contact, that mothers
and other adults report as being rewarding and plea-
surable (e.g., Moss & Robson, 1968). The literature
suggests that there is an important affective compo-
nent of the adult–infant interaction that is likely to
be overlooked in data based on a strict experimen-
tal methodology (Hains & Muir, 1996; Muir et al.,
1994; Pel`aez-Nogueras et al., 1996). It was this affec-
tive component that we aimed to capture with the
methodology we used.
Finally, the attrition rate and consequent limited
sample size at the follow-up testing time is an obvious
weakness of this study. Replication and future work
in this area will help to resolve this issue. It is impor-
tant to note that there were no behavioral differences
at the initial testing time between those participants
who returned for the follow-up and those who did
not. Statistical power was sufficient for all analyses,
and it is encouraging that the effects were sufficiently
robust to emerge despite the limited sample size at
follow-up. Further, the current findings are consistent
with recent work by others who have found that sta-
ble interactional gaze behavior between mothers and
their infants is not present at birth, but develops over
the first months of life (Lavelli & Fogel, 2002; Lo-
haus et al., 2001; Weinberg, Tronick, Cohn, & Olson,
Theoretical Implications
The absence of a pattern of significant gender
differences in mutual gaze behavior in the current
sample of newborns, in combination with the pres-
ence of clear and significant gender differences evi-
dent by 13–18 weeks of age is very important from
the social learning perspective. If we had found gen-
der differences in mutual gaze behavior at Visit 1 (in
the neonate sample) it would indicate the potential
for a biological basis for this gender-typed behavior
pattern. That is, if the gender-typed behavior pattern
is present at birth then no learning could have oc-
curred to bring about its manifestation. However, we
did not find this. Given that no empirical support was
found for sex differences in mutual gaze behavior in
the first days of life, it is likely that the gender-typed
behavior pattern is not innate but, instead, learned in
early infancy.
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
Mutual Gaze Behavior 11
Indications of socialization are evident in the
emergence of gender differences in the predicted di-
rection by the follow-up testing session at 13–18 weeks
postpartum, with girls displaying longer duration of
mutual eye contact than boys by this time. During the
interim period between testing sessions most infants
have spent the majority of their time in the company
of their mother and other female adults. It is possible
that mothers and other women in the environment
promote gender-typed behavior by encouraging in-
fant girls to make more eye contact but providing lit-
tle encouragement of this behavior pattern in boys.
As such, girls are encouraged to be more responsive
to endeavors by adults to make eye contact, and thus
achieve earlier and greater success in the timing of
dyadic gaze behavior (Lohaus et al., 2001; Weinberg
et al., 1999). Support for this is provided by previ-
ous research that demonstrated that mothers begin
to label their infants differentially as a function of the
infant’s sex within 24 hr after birth (Karraker, Vogel,
& Lake, 1995; Leeb & Rejskind, 1997, 1998; Reid,
1994; Rubin, Provenzano, & Luria, 1974), and adults
treat infants differently on the basis of the infant’s
sex (or perceived sex; Lavelli & Fogel, 2002; Seavey,
Katz, & Zalk, 1975; Sidorowicz, & Sparks-Lunney,
1980; Smith & Lloyd, 1978; Thoman, Leiderman, &
Olson, 1972).
In addition, research by Lavelli and Poli (1998)
has shown that differential patterns of mother–infant
interaction develop depending on feeding method
(breast vs. bottle feeding) during the first 3 months of
life. The authors found that “mutual gaze” (as mea-
sured by mutual mother–infant face gazing) was more
frequent during breast- than bottle-feeding, and the
duration of each mother–infant gaze was significantly
greater during breast-feeding. Thus, it is possible that
infants who are breast-fed may learn to gaze more at
adults than infants who are bottle-fed. Unfortunately,
the authors did not analyze their data for possible
gender differences in gaze behavior. No data were col-
lected in this study with regard to feeding practices,
and the position of the infant (upright, facing the inter-
acter) and context of the interaction were markedly
different from a feeding position. Nevertheless, future
research on mutual gaze should consider this factor.
Thus, although many of the findings of the
present study appear to support social learning as
the likely impetus for the development of differen-
tial gaze patterns in young infants, it is also worth-
while to consider briefly the biophysical development
that occurs concurrently with social learning during
the first months of life. The actual biological forces
that could be at work to generate and maintain the
gender dimorphic behavior patterns seen in the cur-
rent sample between the initial testing period and the
follow-up visit are beyond the scope of the present
study. If sex differences in mutual gaze behavior had
been present at birth, it would be reasonable to assert
that these differences are biologically based. How-
ever, it is rare that psychological phenomena are so
unequivocal, and mutual gaze behavior is no excep-
tion. Substantial biophysical development occurs un-
seen during the first months of life, and it is unlikely
that environment and differential treatment of male
and female infants is solely responsible for the emer-
gence of gender-typed patterns of mutual gaze behav-
ior. Significant physiological development of the eye
and vision occur between birth and 3 months of age;
depth of field deepens, peripheral vision improves,
perception of color becomes more acute, and infants
become more attentive to complex stimuli (Dodwell
et al., 1987; Hains & Muir, 1996) and social inter-
actions (Lavelli & Fogel, 2002). However, as Blass
and Camp (2001) and others have pointed out, there
is strong evidence that newborns have available the
mechanisms for face-detection and face-recognition
(Valenza et al., 1996). Nevertheless, it is possible that
although newborns can detect and prefer the human
face and eyes to other stimuli, it is not until later in
development that this form takes on salience and that
salience is particularly significant for girls. Genetic
and hormonal studies, such as those by Hines and
Kaufman (1994) and Berenbaum and her colleagues
(Berenbaum & Hines, 1992; Berenbaum & Snyder
1995), may be the key to determining the degree to
which biological and social influences interact to pro-
duce gender-typed behavior patterns such as mutual
Given the likely effects of socialization and the
possible occurrence of unseen biological changes over
time, a multidomain theoretical approach that in-
cludes both biological factors and socialization forces,
such as that proposed by Martin and Fabes (2001),
may be useful in explaining the findings of the cur-
rent study. In their recent study of the development
of gender differences in playmate selection in young
children Martin and her colleague posited two possi-
ble patterns of gender differentiation over time: “dual
polarization,” in which gender differentiation is the
result of changes in the behaviors of both boys and
girls over time, and “singular polarization,” wherein
the behavior of only one sex changes over time and
the behavior of the other sex remains stable. By ex-
amining the stability of sex segregated peer groups
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
12 Leeb and Rejskind
over time the authors were able to investigate the ex-
tent to which sex segregation is driven by stable in-
dividual characteristics as well as the extent to which
it is influenced by social situational factors. In addi-
tion, by identifying binary forces that directly affect
gender specific development, that is, hormone expo-
sure and physiological responses and specific social-
ization pressures, researchers can begin to identify the
types of situations that promote or discourage sex-
ually dimorphic development. The current findings
show evidence of a singular polarization trajectory in
the development of mutual gaze behavior in which
girls’ behavior changes over time and boys’ behavior
remains stable. Further exploration of the biological
aspects and the stability over time of the current pat-
tern of singular polarization in the development of
mutual gaze behavior is needed.
To summarize, the data from our study suggest
that social learning may be the primary impetus for
the development of gender differences in mutual gaze
behavior in the first months of life. Moreover, our
findings highlight the importance of considering the
affective component in adult–infant interaction in re-
search methodologies and investigating this interac-
tion outside the context of the mother–infant dyad.
Exploration of possible biological substrates that may
be responsible for sustaining the pattern of singu-
lar polarization seen in the development of gender
differences in mutual gaze behavior is now needed.
Although our research has limitations, notably the
relatively small sample size at the second visit and
the use of a coding methodology that does not allow
for calculation of interrater reliability, our results are
consistent with work by others in this area and show
that gender differences in mutual gaze are evident at
a younger age and a wider context than has previ-
ously been demonstrated. We recommend that future
studies focus on the stability of gaze behavior during
later infancy and the precise factors responsible for
the change in girls’ mutual gaze behavior.
This study is part of the first author’s doctoral dis-
sertation. Financial support was provided, in part, by a
grant from the Social Sciences Grants Sub-Committee
of McGill University.
The authors thank the following people for their
help in the data collection: John Lewis, MEng, Rob
Ayoup, Laurence Beaumier-Grant, Tracey Comacho,
Sandra Carroll, Pierre Chaves, Ellen Sook-Hee Hong,
Dina Leftakis, Shawn Mendel, Francois Nols, Tracy
Nugent, Mark Ohashi, Uri Pizarro-Chong, and Priya
Sehgal. Without their assistance these data would not
exist. Thanks also to the nursing and administrative
staff of the postpartum unit of the S.M.B.D.—Jewish
General Hospital. Finally, the authors extend their
gratitude to the mothers and fathers who agreed to
take time out of the busy first days and months of
parenthood to participate in this study.
American Psychological Association (APA). (2001). Publication
manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.).
Washington, DC: Author.
Arco, C. M. B., Self, P. A., & Gutrecht, N. (1979). The effect of
increased maternal visual regard on neonatal visual behavior.
Journal of Clinical Child Psychology,8, 117–120.
Argyle, M., & Ingham, R. (1972). Gaze,mutual gaze, and proximity.
Semiotica,1, 32–49.
Ashear, V., & Snortum, J. R. (1971). Eye contact in children as a
function of age, sex, social and intellective variables. Develop-
mental Psychology,4, 479.
Benenson, J. F. (1993). Gender differences in social networks. Jour-
nal of Early Adolescence,10, 472–495.
Berenbaum, S. A., & Hines, M. (1992). Early androgens are related
to childhood sex-typed toy preferences. Psychological Science,
3, 203–206.
Berenbaum, S. A., & Snyder, E. (1995). Early hormonal influences
on childhood sex-typed activity and playmate preferences: Im-
plications for the development of sexual orientation. Develop-
mental Psychology,31, 31–42.
Blass, E. M., & Camp, C. A. (2001). The ontogeny of face recogni-
tion: Eye contact and sweet taste induce face preference in 9-
and 12-week old human infants. Developmental Psychology,
37, 762–774.
Bowlby,J. (1958). The nature of the child’stie to his mother. Journal
of Psychoanalysis,39, 350–373.
Brooks, C. I., Church, M. A., & Fraser, L. (1986). Effects of dura-
tion of eye contact on judgments of personality characteristics.
Journal of Social Psychology,126, 71–78.
Cherry, A. L. (1992). The socialization instinct: Individual, family,
and social bonds. Journal of Applied Social Sciences,17, 125–
Corkum, V., & Moore, C. (1998). Theorigins of joint visual attention
in infants. Developmental Psychology,34, 28–38.
Davis, M., & Emory, E. (1995). Sex differences in neonatal stress
reactivity. Child Development,66, 14–27.
Diamond, M., & Sigmundson, H. K. (1997). Sex reassignment at
birth. Long-term review and clinical implications. Archives of
Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine,151, 298–304.
Dodwell, P. C., Humphrey, G. K., & Muir, D. W. (1987). Shape and
pattern perception. In P. Salapatek & L. Cohen, (Eds.), Hand-
book of infant perception: Vol. 2. From perception to cognition
(pp. 1–77). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Ellsworth, C. P., Muir, D. W., & Hains, S. M. J. (1993). Social com-
petence and person-object differentiation: An analysis of the
still-face effect. Developmental Psychology,29, 63–73.
Exline, R. (1963). Explorations in the process of person perception:
Visual interaction in relation to competition, sex, and need for
affiliation. Journal of Personality,31, 1–20.
Exline, R., Gray, D., & Schuette, D. (1965). Visual behavior in a
dyad as affected by interview content and sex of respondent.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,1, 201–209.
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
Mutual Gaze Behavior 13
Fagot,B. I., Leinbach, M. D.,& O’Boyle, C. (1992). Gender labeling,
gender stereotyping, and parenting behaviors. Developmental
Psychology,28, 225–230.
Fogel, A., Dedo, J. Y., & McEwen, I. (1992). Effect of postural
position and reaching on gaze during mother–infant face-to-
face interaction. Infant Behavior and Development,15, 231–
Fogel, A., Messinger, D. S., Dickson, K. L., & Hsu, H.-C. (1999).
Posture and gaze in early mother–infant communication: Syn-
chronization of developmental trajectories. Developmental
Science,2, 325–332.
Fraiberg, S. (1974). Blind infants and their mothers: An examina-
tion of the sign system. In M. Lewis & L. A. Rosenblum (Eds.),
The effect of the infant on its caregiver (pp. 251–262). New York:
Frick, J. E., & Colombo, J. (1996). Individual differences in infant
visual attention: Recognition of degraded visual forms by four-
month-olds. Child Development,67, 188–204
Greenman, G. W. (1963). Visual behavior of newborn infants. In
A. J. Solnit & S. A. Provence (Eds.), Modern perspectives
in child development (pp. 71–79). New York: International
Universities Press.
Gunnar, M. R., Porter, R. L., Wolf, C. M., Rigatuso, J., & Larson,
M. C. (1995). Neonatal stress reactivity: Predictions to later
emotional temperament. Child Development,66, 1–13.
Hains, S. M. J., & Muir, D. W. (1996). Infant sensitivity to adult eye
direction. Child Development,67, 1940–1951.
Haith, M. M., Bergman, T., & Moore, M. J. (1977). Eye contact and
face scanning in early infancy. Science,198, 853–855.
Hines, M., & Kaufman, F. R. (1994). Androgen and the develop-
ment of human sex-typical behavior: Rough-and-tumble play
and sex of preferred playmates in children with congenital
adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Child Development,65, 1042–
Hittelman, J. H., & Dickes, R. (1979). Sex differences in neonatal
eye contact time. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly,25, 171–184.
Karraker, K. H., Vogel, D. A., & Lake, M. A. (1995). Parents’
gender-stereotyped perceptions of newborns: The eye of the
beholder revisited. Sex Roles,33, 687–701.
Klaus, M. H., & Kennell, J. H. (1976). Maternal-infant bonding. In
M. H. Klaus & J. H. Kennell (Eds.), Maternal-infant bonding
(pp. 1–15). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Klaus, M. H., Kennell, J. H., Plumb, N., & Zuehlke, S. (1970). Hu-
man maternal behavior at the first contact with her young.
Pediatrics,46, 187–192.
Kleinke, C. L. (1986). Gaze and eye contact: A research review.
Psychological Bulletin,100, 78–100.
Kleinke, C. L., Desautels, M. S., & Knapp, B. E. (1977). Adult gaze
and affective and visual responses of preschool children. Jour-
nal of Genetic Psychology,131, 321–322.
Knackstedt, G., & Kleinke, C. L. (1991). Eye contact, gender, and
personality judgments. Journal of Social Psychology,131, 303–
Lasky,R. E., & Klein, R. E. (1979). The reactions of five-month-old
infants to eye contact of the mother and of a stranger. Merrill-
Palmer Quarterly,25, 163–170.
Lavelli, M., & Fogel, A. (2002). Developmental changes in mother
infant face-to-face communication: Birth to 3 months. Devel-
opmental Psychology,38, 288–305.
Lavelli, M., & Poli, M. D. (1998). Early mother–infant interaction
during breast- and bottle-feeding. Infant Behavior and Devel-
opment,21, 667–684.
Leeb, R. T., & Rejskind, G. (1997, August). Maternal sex-typing of
newborns: Development of a rating scale. Poster presented at
the annual meeting of the American Psychological Associa-
tion. Chicago, IL.
Leeb, R. T., & Rejskind, F. G. (1998, April). Paternal sex-typing of
newborns: Standardization of a rating scale. Posterpresented at
the International Conference on Infant Studies. Atlanta, GA.
Levine, M. H., & Sutton-Smith, B. (1973). Effects of age, sex, and
task on visual behavior during dyadic interaction. Develop-
mental Psychology,9, 400–405.
Lohaus, A., Keller, H., & Voelker, S. (2001). Relationships be-
tween eye contact, maternal sensitivity, and infant crying.
International Journal of Behavioral Development,25, 542–
Maccoby,E. E. (1990). Gender and relationships. A developmental
account. American Psychologist,45, 513–520.
Martin, C. L. (1999). A developmental perspective on gender ef-
fects and gender concepts. In W. B. Swann, Jr., J. H. Langlois,
& L. A. Gilbert (Eds.), Sexism and stereotypes in modern so-
ciety. The gender science of Janet Taylor Spence (pp. 45–73).
Washington, DC: APA.
Martin, C. L., & Fabes, R. A. (2001). The stability and consequences
of young children’s same-sex peer interactions. Developmental
Psychology,37, 431–446.
Moss, H. A., & Robson, K. S. (1968). Maternal influences in
early social visual behavior. Child Development,39, 401–
Muir, D. W., Hains, S. M. J., & Symons, L. A. (1994). Baby and me:
Infants need minds to read! Cahiers de Psychologie Cognitive,
13, 669–682.
Mulac, A., Studley, L. B., Weimann, J. M., & Bradac, J. J. (1987).
Male/female gaze in same-sex and mixed sex dyads. Gender-
linked differences in mutual influence. Human Communica-
tion Research,13, 323–343.
Pascalis, O., & de Schonen, S. (1993). Recognition in 3-
to 4-day old human neonates. NeuroReport,5, 1721–
Pascalis, O., de Schonen, S., Morton, J., Deruelle, C., & Fabre-
Grenet, M. (1995). Mother’s face recognition by neonates: A
replication and extension. Infant Behavior and Development,
18, 79–85.
Pel `aez-Nogueras,M., Gewirtz, J. L., Field,T., Cigales,M., Malphurs,
J., Clasky, S., et al. (1996). Infants’ preference for touch stim-
ulation in face-to-face interactions. Journal of Applied Devel-
opmental Psychology,17, 199–213.
Pilkonis, P. A. (1977). The behavioral consequences of shyness.
Journal of Personality,45, 596–611.
Podoruzek, W., & Furrow, D. (1988). Preschooler’s use of eye con-
tact while speaking: The influence of sex, age, and conversa-
tional partner. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research,17, 89–
Pomerleau, A., Bolduc, D., Malcuit, G., & Cossette, L. (1990). Pink
or blue: Environmental gender stereotypes in the first two
years of life. Sex Roles,22, 359–367.
Post, B., & Heatherington, E. M. (1974). Sex differences in the
use of proximity and eye contact in judgments of affiliation
in preschool children. Developmental Psychology,10, 881–
Reid, G. M. (1994). Maternal sex-stereotyping of newborns. Psy-
chological Reports,75, 1443–1450.
Rhinegold, H. L. (1963). Controlling the infant’s exploratory be-
haviour. In B. M. Foss (Ed.), Determinants of infant behavior
II (pp. 171–178). London: Methuen.
Robson, K. S. (1967). The role of eye-to-eye contact in maternal-
infant attachment. Journalof Child Psychology and Psychiatry,
8, 13–25.
Robson, K. S., Pedersen, F. A., & Moss, H. A. (1969). Develop-
mental observations of diadic gazing in relation to the fear of
strangers and social approach behavior. Child Development,
40, 619–627.
Rubin, J. Z., Provenzano, F. J., & Luria, Z. (1974). The eye of the
beholder: Parents views on sex of newborns. American Journal
of Orthopsychiatry,44, 512–519.
Ruble, D. N., & Martin, C. L. (1998). Gender development. In W.
Damon (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 933–
1016). New York: Wiley.
Sex Roles [sers] pp1075-sers-477807 December 18, 2003 16:8 Style file version June 3rd, 2002
14 Leeb and Rejskind
Russo, N. F. (1975). Eye contact, interpersonal distance, and the
equilibrium theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychol-
ogy,31, 497–502.
Seavey, C. A., Katz, P. A., & Zalk, S. R. (1975). Baby X: The effect
of gender labels on adult responses to infants. Sex Roles,1,
Sidorowicz, L. S., & Sparks-Lunney, G. (1980). Baby X revisited.
Sex Roles,6, 67–73.
Slater, A., Bremner, G., Johnson, S. P, Sherwood, P., Hayes, R., &
Brown, E. (2000). Newborn infants’ preferences for attractive
faces: The role of internal and external facial features. Infancy,
1, 265–274.
Slater, A., Von der Schulenberg, C., Brown, E., Badenoch, M.,
Butterworth, G., Parsons, S., et al. (1998). Newborn infants
prefer attractive faces. Infant Behavior and Development,21,
Slijper, F. M. E., Drop, S. L. S., Molenaar, J. C., & de Muinck
Keizer-Schrama, S. M. P. F. (1998). Long-term psychological
evaluation of intersex children. Archives of Sexual Behavior,
27, 125–144.
Smith, C., & Lloyd, B. (1978). Maternal behavior and per-
ceived sex of infant: Revisited. Child Development,49, 1263–
Statistics Canada. (1995). Average annual income for se-
lected family types and unattached individuals: Data for
1980, 1989, 1994, 1995 [On-line]. Federal Government of
Canada: Statistics Canada [Catalogue no. 13–207]. Retreived
Stern, D. N. (1974). Mother and infant at play: The dyadic interac-
tion involving facial, vocal, and gaze behaviors. In M. Lewis &
L. A. Rosenblum (Eds.), The effect of the infant on its caregiver
(pp. 187–214). New York: Wiley.
Tannen, D. (1990). Gender differences in conversational coherence:
Physical alignment and topical cohesion. In B. Dorval (Ed.),
Conversational organization and its development (pp. 165–
206). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Thoman, E. B., Leiderman, H., & Olson, J. P. (1972). Neonate–
mother interaction during breast-feeding. Developmental Psy-
chology,6, 110–118.
Trowell, J. (1982). Possible effects of emergency cesarean section
on the mother-child relationship. Early Human Development,
7, 41–51.
Valenza, E., Simion, F., Cassia, V. M., & Umilt `a, C. (1996). Face
preference at birth. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Hu-
man Perception and Performance,22, 892–903.
van Wulften Plathe, T., & Hopkins, B. (1984). Development of the
infant’s social competence during early face-to-face interac-
tion: A longitudinal study. In H. F. R. Prechtl (Ed.), Continuity
of neural functions from prenatal to post natal life (pp. 198–219).
Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott.
Vlietstra, A. G., & Manske, S. H. (1981). Looks to adults, pref-
erences for adult males and females, an interpretations of an
adult’s gaze by preschool children. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly,
27, 31–41.
Weinberg, K. M., & Tronick, E. Z. (1996). Infant affective reactions
to the resumption of maternal interaction after the still-face.
Child Development,67, 905–914.
Weinberg, M. K., Tronick, E. Z., Cohn, J. F., & Olson, K. L.
(1999). Gender differences in emotional expressivity and self-
regulation during early infancy. Developmental Psychology,
35, 175–188.
Zeifman, D., Delaney, S., & Blass, E. M. (1996). Sweet taste, look-
ing, and calm in 2- and 4-week-old infants: The eyes have it.
Developmental Psychology,32, 1090–1099.
Zeskind, P. S., & Marshall, T. R. (1991). Temporal organization is
neonatal arousal: Systems, oscillations, and development. In
M. J. Weiss & P. R. Zelazo, Newborn attention: biological con-
straints and the influence of experience (pp. 22–62). Norwood,
NJ: Ablex.
Zucker, K. J. (1996). Commentary on Diamond’s “Prenatal pre-
disposition and the clinical management of some pediatric
conditions.Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy,22, 148–
... Sexual dimorphism is known to affect several aspects of brain development and the maturation of the social brain. Female neonates make more eye contact (Leeb & Rejskind, 2004), are more likely to orient to faces and human voices (Connellan et al., 2000), and exhibit a better discrimination of emotional expression than males (McClure, 2000). ...
... As CT fibers encode the reward value associated with close physical contact, one could speculate that affective touch could be a more rewarding stimulus for females and that this result could be related to the stronger "social attitude" often linked to the female sex since early infancy (Connellan et al., 2000;Leeb & Rejskind, 2004;McClure, 2000;Mutlu et al., 2013). ...
Full-text available
Social touch is closely related to the establishment and maintenance of social bonds in humans, and the sensory brain circuit for gentle brushing is already active soon after birth. Brain development is known to be sexually dimorphic, but the potential effect of sex on brain activation to gentle touch remains unknown. Here, we examined brain activation to gentle skin stroking, a tactile stimulation that resembles affective or social touch, in term‐born neonates. Eighteen infants aged 11–36 days, recruited from the FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study, were included in the study. During natural sleep, soft brush strokes were applied to the skin of the right leg during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3 cm/s velocity. We examined potential differences in brain activation between males (n = 10) and females (n = 8) and found that females had larger blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses (brushing vs. rest) in bilateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), right ventral striatum and bilateral inferior striatum, pons, and cerebellum compared to males. Moreover, the psychophysiological interactions (PPI) analysis, setting the left and right OFC as seed regions, revealed significant differences between males and females. Females exhibited stronger PPI connectivity between the left OFC and posterior cingulate or cuneus. Our work suggests that social touch neural responses are different in male and female neonates, which may have major ramifications for later brain, cognitive, and social development. Finally, many of the sexually dimorphic brain responses were subcortical, not captured by surface‐based neuroimaging, indicating that fMRI will be a relevant technique for future studies.
... Sexual dimorphism is known to affect several aspects of brain development and the maturation of the social brain. Female neonates make more eye contact (Leeb & Rejskind, 2004), are more likely to orient to faces and human voices (Connellan et al., 2000) and exhibit a better discrimination of emotional expression than males (McClure, 2000). Although some sex differences have been detected also in relation to affective touch (Björnsdotter et al., 2014;Schirmer & McGlone, 2019) (e.g., females often perceive affective touch as more pleasant compared to males), the role of sex in brain processing of caress-like touch remains poorly understood, and regarding neonates, unknown. ...
... OFC and ventral striatum cortices are key components of the brain's reward circuit. As CT-fibres encode the reward value associated with close physical contact, one could speculate that affective touch could be a more rewarding stimulus for females and that this result could be related to the stronger "social attitude" often linked to the female sex since early infancy (Connellan et al., 2000;Leeb & Rejskind, 2004;McClure, 2000;Mutlu et al., 2013). ...
Social touch is closely related to the establishment and maintenance of social bonds in humans and the sensory brain circuit for gentle brushing is already active soon after birth. Brain development is known to be sexually dimorphic, but the potential effect of sex on brain activation to gentle touch remains unknown. Here, we examined brain activation to gentle skin stroking, a tactile stimulation that resembles affective/social touch, in term-born neonates. Eighteen infants aged 11-36 days, recruited from the FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study, were included in the study. During natural sleep, soft brush strokes were applied to the skin of the right leg during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 3cm/s velocity. We examined potential differences in brain activation between males (n = 10) and females (n = 8) and found that females had larger blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses (brushing vs. rest) in bilateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), right ventral striatum and bilateral inferior striatum, pons and cerebellum compared to males. Moreover, the psychophysiological interactions (PPI) analysis, setting left and right OFC as seed regions, revealed significant differences between males and females. Females exhibited stronger PPI connectivity between the left OFC and posterior cingulate/cuneus. Our work suggests that social touch neural responses are different in male and female neonates, which may have major ramifications for later brain, cognitive and social development. Finally, many of the sexually dimorphic brain responses were subcortical, not captured by surface-based neuroimaging, indicating that fMRI will be a relevant technique for future studies.
... Özellikle pazarlama iletişimi ve reklamcılık alanları cinsiyetler arasındaki benzerlikleri ve farklılıkları betimlemeye çalışmıştır. Farklı disiplinler aracılığı ile yapılan pek çok araştırma (Linn ve Petersen, 1985;Roopnarine, 1986;Wilson, 1989;Bradley vd., 2001;Koç, 2002;Leeb ve Rejskind, 2004;Çiftçi, 2011;Pace, 2011;Şener, 2015;Uzbay, 2018) kadının ve erkeğin bilgiyi işleme ve iletişim süreçlerinde farklılıkların olduğunu ortaya koymuştur. Pazarlama ve reklamcılık alanında faaliyet gösterenlerin hedef kitle ile iletişime geçip etkili bir reklam mesajı oluşturabilmesinde bu bulguların araştırılması önemli bir seçenektir. ...
... Marketing communication and advertising fields have especially tried to describe the similarities and differences between the genders. Many studies conducted through different disciplines (Linn and Petersen, 1985;Roopnarine, 1986;Wilson, 1989;Bradley et al., 2001;Koç, 2002;Leeb and Rejskind, 2004;Çiftçi, 2011;Pace, 2011;Şener, 2015 ;Uzbay, 2018) revealed that there are differences in processing information and communication in women and men. Investigating these findings is an important option for those operating in the field of marketing and advertising to communicate with the target audience and create a compelling advertising message. ...
Full-text available
İşletmelerin pazarlama karar ve stratejilerinin belirlenmesinde cinsiyet kavramı, etkili bir pazar bölümleme değişkenidir. Ürünlerin ve hizmetlerin hedef kitlenin isteklerine ve ihtiyaçlarına hitap edebilmesi, hedef kitlenin dikkatini çekebilmesi etkin bir pazarlama iletişimi ile mümkün olabilmektedir. Satın alma davranışını önemli ölçüde şekillendiren reklamlar, pazarlama iletişimi açısından hedef kitleye ulaşmada anahtar rol üstlenmektedir. Hedef kitlenin, reklamı yapılan ürüne veya hizmete dikkatinin çekilmesi, ürünün veya hizmetin akılda kalıcılığının sağlanması, rakiplerinden ayırt edilebilir olması için geliştirilen unsurları ifade eden reklamda çekicilik ve strateji, bu çalışma ile irdelenen başlıklar arasındadır. Bu kapsamda dezenfektan reklamlarında kullanılan görsellerin reklamda çekicilik ve strateji oluştururken cinsiyet kaynaklı; algılama farklılıkları, dikkat süre ve sayılarındaki farklılıklar, nöropazarlama araştırma tekniklerinden EyeTracking yöntemi ile ortaya konulmaya çalışılmıştır. Bu çalışma; Fırat Üniversitesi Pazarlama ve Nöropazarlama Araştırma Merkezi kapsamında 15 kadın ve 15 erkek olmak üzere toplam 30 gönüllü katılımcı ile gerçekleştirilmiştir. Araştırmada, hedef kitlenin Eye Tracking analiz yöntemi ile dezenfektan reklamlarında kullanılan görsellerin farkındalık düzeyleri araştırılmış ve görsel etki düzeyleri belirlenmiştir. Bu sebeple, dezenfektan reklamları aracılığı ile kadın ve erkeğin marka seçimindeki farklı kararlarının altında yatan gerçek sebepler anlaşılmaya çalışılmıştır. Böylece, dezenfektan reklamları üzerindeki görsel etki düzeylerinin cinsiyete göre farklılaşma düzeyleri tespit edilmiştir.
... The avoidance of mutual glance in public spaces defines the general phenomenon of what Goffman calls "civil inattention," i.e. the bypassing monitoring in public life. Goffman is well aware, however, that these rules only apply for the US middle class, which he mainly studied in his time, and there are good indications that these rules differ with respect to gender: girls and women are more likely to engage in mutual eye contact with another person for longer periods of time, particularly if that person is female too-dependent on social learning (Leeb & Rejskind 2004). ...
Full-text available
In this article, we propose to reconceptualize phenomenology in a relational way. Instead of taking subjective consciousness as the starting point for the constitution of meaning, we consider meaning (as well as subjects and subjectivities) as something that is produced in social relations, or more precisely, in communicative actions. In order to explore how this works we empirically study mutual gaze as a critical case. At first sight, the reciprocity that arises when two subjects look into each other’s eyes and perceive how they look and are being looked at reciprocally seems to be “pure,” i.e. free of any mediation by language, gestures or other objectivations. It turns out, however, that mutual gaze unfolds, albeit highly ambivalently and fluidly, as an “object in time”. In contrast to non‑subjectivist approaches, we argue that we need some sort of subjectivity to understand phenomena such as mutual gaze. However, we also need to understand its embeddedness in cultures as well as in social relations. This is what Relational Phenomenology means.
... Studies investigating the effect of biological predisposition on the choice of children refer to boy's gross motor abilities, high activity levels, and low impulse control (Benenson et al., 2011;Else-Quest et al., 2006). Studies indicate that girls' interest in social stimuli and their advantage in fine motor control affect toy preference (Leeb et al., 2004;Nagy et al., 2007). Some of the studies emphasizing environmental factors also state that parents prefer to play different games with boys and girls and that these play patterns shape the toy preferences of children. ...
Full-text available
This phenomenological study examined the play experiences and perceptions of eighteen 5- to 6-year-old children from three disadvantaged socioeconomic and cultural contexts in Turkey. Data were generated through semi-structured individual interviews with children. Results indicated that children's play experiences and perceptions were influenced by the context and cultural characteristics in which they lived. Children defined play as the various activities they choose to do primarily outdoors, and their play experiences varied in relation to their parents' attitudes, socioeconomic opportunities, culture-specific judgments, and affordances of their physical environment. Parents set limits on their children's play and play spaces due to safety concerns, possibility of damaging property, and responsibilities which the children were expected to fulfill. However, children were usually allowed to play outside within hearing distance of their parents, provided that they completed their homework and avoided risks and danger. Although the children had limited play materials, gender stereotypes were quite evident in their play materials and playmate preferences. Participant children reported that their parents usually did not play with them as well as did not prefer them to become playmates with children of the opposite gender.
... That is, the findings for that are obtained from different but similar studies appear to be entirely contradictory. For example, Leeb and Rejskind (2004) show that there are no remarkable differences in terms of eye contact timing between six months of age for either girls or boys. Another study about contagious crying in infants as a reaction was conducted with children of nine months 31 of age. ...
Full-text available
This study attempts to clarify effects of gender differences on social development of children on the spectrum. However, this study first provides in-depth knowledge about social development in neurotypical children, the importance of social development for individuals, and social development of children and adults on the spectrum in advance of focussing on the effects of gender differences on social development of children on the spectrum. In this way, it is believed that the reader can gain fundamental knowledge about social development and, further, gain the opportunity to compare information about the above. This study also gives a critical literature review that offers a huge amount of knowledge from a number of academic studies, including different perspectives and results. Furthermore, another aim of the study is to provide information about current social development and gender differences in autism. In addition, an explanation about what kind of research gaps and inconsistencies exist with regard to the effects of gender differences on social development of children on the spectrum. In summary, even though there are some conflicting studies about gender differences in autism, this study partly argues that there are clear differences about the social sufficiency of boys and girls on the spectrum. In particular, it is recognised that girls on the spectrum are more socially sufficient than boys during early childhood. Key words: effects of gender differences in autism, social development of children on the spectrum, social differences in boys and girls on the spectrum.
... Within few hours from birth, baby girls engage in greater eye contact with a female interactor (Hittelman & Dickes, 1979). Leeb and Rejskind (2004) tried to replicate those findings but found a significant difference only by the third month of age on. It is worth noting that differently from earlier research, the rare recent studies of empathic response do not uphold sex/gender differences in infancy (Eisenberg et al., 2015;Geangu et al., 2010;Roth-Hanania et al., 2011), or at least not until 12-18 months of age (Davidov et al., 2021;Knafo et al., 2008;Volbrecht et al., 2007). ...
The topic of typical sex and gender difference in empathy is examined in both a developmental and neuroscientific perspective. Empathy is construed as a multi-layered phenomenon with various degrees of complexity unfolding in ontogeny. The different components of empathy (i.e., affective, cognitive, and prosocial motivation) will be discussed as they interact and are expressed behaviorally. Significant sex/gender differences in empathy are discussed in relation to putative bottom-up or top-down processes underlying empathetic responses. The early onset and the pervasive presence of such sex/gender differences throughout the lifespan are further discussed in light of social and neurobiological modeling factors, including early socialization, brain's structural/functional variances, as well as genetics and hormonal factors.
... However, female infants showed increased attention to the eyes throughout the dynamic videos. These results are consistent with evidence that female infants made more eye contact with social partners (Leeb & Rejskind, 2004) and showed increased scanning of internal facial features when viewing static faces (Rennels & Cummings, 2013). Although Poulin-Dubois et al. (2018) found that female toddlers showed increased looking to eyes when actors displayed sadness, the current study is the first to demonstrate a gender difference in infants' attention to internal face features across multiple emotional messages. ...
Infants often experience interactions in which caregivers use dynamic messages to convey their affective and communicative intent. These dynamic emotional messages may shape the development of emotion discrimination skills and shared attention by influencing infants’ attention to internal facial features and their responses to eye gaze cues. However, past research examining infants’ responses to emotional faces has predominantly focused on classic, stereotyped expressions (e.g., happy, sad, angry) that may not reflect the variability that infants experience in their daily interactions. The present study therefore examined forty-two 6-month-old infants’ attention to eyes vs. mouth and gaze cueing responses across multiple dynamic emotional messages that are common to infant-directed interactions. Overall, infants looked more to the eyes during messages with negative affect, but this increased attention to the eyes during these message conditions did not directly facilitate gaze cueing. Infants instead showed reliable gaze cueing only after messages with positive and neutral affect. We additionally observed gender differences in infants’ attention to internal face features and subsequent gaze cueing responses. Female infants spent more time looking at the eyes during the dynamic emotional messages and showed increased initial orienting and longer looking to gaze-cued objects following positive messages, whereas male infants showed these gaze cueing effects following neutral messages. These results suggest that variability in caregivers’ communication can shape infants’ attention to and processing of emotion and gaze information.
Full-text available
The influence of eye contact on memory has been a topic of extensive study, yet its effects remain ambiguous. This inconsistency may be attributed to the varying levels of task difficulty encountered during such research. To explore this possibility, our study employed a word memory task, integrating eye gaze, to examine how task difficulty (easy or difficult) modulates the effect of eye contact on word memory. 41 participants engaged in memory tasks under varying eye contact conditions. Our findings reveal a significant interaction between task difficulty and eye contact: for easy tasks, memory accuracy was lower with eye contact, whereas for difficult tasks, accuracy improved in the presence of eye contact. Intriguingly, this effect was predominantly observed in female participants. In easy tasks, eye contact appeared to hinder memory performance in females, while it enhanced performance in difficult tasks. These results suggest that the impact of eye contact on memory is not uniformly positive or negative but is contingent on task complexity and is influenced by gender differences. This study contributes new insights into the fluctuating effects of eye contact on memory, thereby enriching our understanding of the relationship between non-verbal social cues and cognitive processes.
Virtual Agents have been increasingly used as deliverers of notions in Simulated Human Interactions training effective communication strategies. Nevertheless, replicating the level of human-likeness required to "convince users (…) that a virtual human is the real thing" (Ruhland et al., 2015) remains a challenge. In particular, the Uncanny Valley effect refers to the observer's unpleasant impression of a virtual being with an almost, but not entirely, realistic human form (Seyama & Nagayama, 2007). Previous literature has described several intervening factors in the perception of uncanniness, including the Agent's static and dynamic features, but also individual differences in the degree of predisposition to anthropomorphize an Agent (e.g., Epley, Waytz, & Cacioppo, 2007; Kätsyri, Förger, Mäkäräinen, & Takala, 2015). During the last decades, video games have been representing an entertainment source for a growing number of people, and this dissertation's objective has been to confirm whether game habits might be considered among intervening factors. The video game industry has been driving technological innovation allowing for high-fidelity face and voice synthesis of Virtual Agents in Entertainment products. Such technologies are often not available to smaller research laboratories relying on limited resources. Therefore, the present dissertation has also explored the possibility of identifying "easy wins" on the short development run, essential elements that do not require expensive interventions in terms of money and time but can increase the perception of the Virtual Agent's quality. ENACT (Marocco, Pacella, Dell'Aquila, & Di Ferdinando, 2015), an online Simulated Human Interaction for the training of Negotiation strategies, has been used as the main object of this dissertation. In ENACT, trainees take five conversation turns with a Virtual Agent that communicates through a combination of four different facial expressions, 24 gestures, and ten different body postures and gaze directions. The present dissertation includes two experimental studies, exploring the effectiveness of low budget implementations of Virtual Agent’s features, i.e., random eye blinks and spoken gibberish accompanying written communication. Two samples of, respectively, 50 and 60 male participants, all aged between 18 and 35, have been recruited and preliminarily divided into habitual video game players and non-habitual video game players according to their mean weekly gameplay hours. Once randomly assigned to the experimental or control group, participants interacted with the Virtual Agent and completed the questionnaires related to its uncanniness evaluation and ENACT's perceived quality as an educational product. Results indicate that the mere introduction of eye blinks in random moments of the interaction with a Virtual Agent seems to moderately affect the user's perception of the Agents' realism. Moreover, in cases when modern text-to-speech voice engines are not available, it seems advisable to rely on a text-only form of communication for Virtual Agents instead of a gibberish-based communication. Results also suggest that video game habits might have a mediating role in the perception of Virtual Agents' qualities. Nevertheless, game habits might not simply posit higher standards to players but, instead, they might experience the "too real for comfort" zone differently, consequently assigning different expected social standards and normative expectations to Virtual Agents they interact with. Such results confirm that the perception of an Agent's human-likeness is a complex and dimensional matter, therefore including previous gaming literacy into the factors intervening in the perception of uncanniness.
Full-text available
Eighty-one 6-month-old infants and their mothers were videotaped in Tronick's face-to-face still-face paradigm to evaluate gender differences in infant and maternal emotional expressivity and regulation. Male infants had greater difficulty than female infants in maintaining affective regulation during each episode, including the still face. Mother-son dyads had higher synchrony scores than mother-daughter dyads but took longer in repairing interactive errors. In addition, maternal affect, matching, rate of change between matching and mismatching states, and synchrony in the play preceding the still face differentially mediated male and female infants' responses to the still face and reunion play. The developmental implications of these gender differences are discussed.
Full-text available
Early hormones have been hypothesized to influence both sexual orientation and related childhood sex-typed behaviors. This study examined hormonal influences on activity and playmate preferences in children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) age 2.5 to 12 years (24 girls, 19 boys) and their relatives (16 girls, 25 boys). CAH girls preferred boys' toys and activities. They also had greater preference for boy playmates than controls, but this was largely attributable to 4 girls. CAH boys did not differ significantly from controls. Activity and playmate preferences were not related. It was concluded that early androgen has a major effect on childhood activity preferences but only a weak influence on playmate preferences; sex segregation does not arise from sex-typed activity preferences; activity and playmate preferences may be differently predictive of sexual orientation; and hormonal influences on sexual orientation are likely to be complex.
Full-text available
Studied interpersonal visual behavior of same-sex, approximately same-age Ss engaged in dyadic interaction during both a conversation and a construction task. 96 Ss were divided into 4 age groups: 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12 yr olds, and adults. Analyses of variance indicate significant age differences in amount of gazing during conversation for all 4 dependent variables; there was an increase from the 1st to the 2nd age group, a slight decrease at the 3rd age level, and an increase for adults. No age changes in gazing occurred during construction. Significant sex differences, with females gazing more than males, occurred only during conversation and for 2 dependent variables. Significantly more gazing was found during conversation than construction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Are gender labeling and gender stereotyping in 24-, 30-, and 36-month-old children related to each other and to mothers' sex-role attitudes and responses to sex-typed behavior in a free-play situation with their children? The gender stereotyping measure indicated that gender schemata include information that is metaphorically rather than literally associated with each sex. Children who understood labels for boys and girls displayed more knowledge of gender stereotypes than children who did not. Mothers whose children had mastered labels for boys and girls endorsed more traditional attitudes toward women and toward sex roles within the family. The same mothers also initiated and reinforced more sex-typed toy play with their children.
The communicative abilities of infants, revealed in the still-face (SF) procedure, were examined in 2 studies comparing behavior toward people and ''interactive'' objects. In Experiment 1, thirty-two 3- and 6-month-olds were presented with an object and a person (mother or female stranger). The SF effect was produced only by mothers and strangers. Positive affect clearly established person-object differentiation; infants smiled at people but rarely at the object. In Experiment 2, twelve 3-month-olds were presented with 4 stimuli: a female stranger and 3 objects with features varying in similarity to an abstract, smiling face. Again, infants reserved their smiles for the person. Positive affect appears to be a primary index of young infants' social-perceptual competence and person-object differentiation.