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Can Differentiate between Familiar and Unfamiliar Faces (0-3 Months)

Infants quickly become experts at scanning and identifying faces. A newborn infant can distinguish between its own mother’s face and a stranger’s. By three months, an infant’s vision has improved considerably, and the child is even better at discriminating among faces. Children can tell the difference between a stranger’s face that they have seen only briefly and one they have not.


Barrera, M. E., & Maurer, D. (1981). Discrimination of strangers by the three-month-old. Child Development, 52, 558

Bushnell, I. W., Sai, F., & Mullin, J. T. (1989). Neonatal recognition of the mother’s face. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 7(1), 3

Walton, G. E., Bower, N. J., & Bower, T. G. (1992). Recognition of familiar faces by newborns. Infant Behavior & Development, 15, 265