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Faces attract infants' attention in complex displays


Hersler and Hochstein [1] found in adult experiments that face “pop-out”, that is they are looked at earlier and for longer, when presented together with a variety of different objects.

Materials and methods

In contrast to “classical” “pop out” studies we don't vary the number of distractors. We explored this effect in 6-month old infants. Twelve slides were presented to infants, each one including one human face and five different object distractors. The objects are similar to faces regarding their shape, colour, luminance and familiarity. Also, half of the faces have direct gaze, the other averted.


Results indicate that faces “pop out” among distractors. Direct and averted gaze do not differ from each other regarding pop-out effects.


The implications of these results are discussed.


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I wish to thank Prof Mark Johnson, Dr Teodora Gliga, Dr Mayada Elsabbach all of whom helped me in the experiment, and Dr Kyrana Tsapkini, who although far away, has been very supportive to me during this year.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Andravizou, A., Gliga, T., Elsabbagh, M. et al. Faces attract infants' attention in complex displays. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S276 (2008).

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