Infant looking preferences towards dynamic faces: A systematic review

Tamara Bastianello, Tamar Keren-Portnoy, Marinella Majorano, Marilyn Vihman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the pattern of visual attention towards the region of the eyes is now well-established for infants at an early stage of development, less is known about the extent to which the mouth attracts an infant’s attention. Even less is known about the extent to which these specific looking behaviours towards different regions of the talking face (i.e., the eyes or the mouth) may impact on or account for aspects of language development. The aim of the present systematic review is to synthesize and analyse (i) which factors might determine different looking patterns in infants during audio-visual tasks using dynamic faces and (ii) how these patterns have been studied in relation to aspects of the baby’s development. Four bibliographic databases were explored, and the records were selected following specified inclusion criteria. The search led to the identification of 19 papers (October 2021). Some studies have tried to clarify the role played by audiovisual support in speech perception and early production based on directly related factors such as the age or language background of the participants, while others have tested the child’s competence in terms of linguistic or social skills. Several hypotheses have been advanced to explain the selective attention phenomenon. The results of the selected studies have led to different lines of interpretation. Some suggestions for future research are outlined. 
Original languageEnglish
Article number101709
Number of pages16
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Early online date23 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

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© 2022 Elsevier Inc. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Language development
  • Audio-visual perception
  • infants

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