Abstract # 2331 Event # 134:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 2008 09:30 AM-09:40 AM: Session 14 (Meeting Room 1GHI) Oral Presentation


G. Sackett, K. Thomas and C. Kenney
University of Washington, National Primate Resaerch Center, Seattle, Washington 98185, USA
     Imitation of facial expressions has been reported for humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus neonates. We attempted to replicate this in 18 neonates housed from birth in isolettes, then individual cages. Testing occurred at 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 30 days. One tester held the infant, while another made one of four expressions for 20-sec: eye opening, tongue protrusion, mouth opening, and LENing (a nemestrina expression involving lips, eyes, and nose). A 20-sec neutral face baseline preceded each test expression. Frequencies for each expression and duration of attention toward the imitator’s face were scored from video records taken from behind the imitator. The overall frequency of facial expressions changed with age, but ANOVAs and subsequent t-tests [a=0.05] revealed no differences between expression and baseline frequency for any expression at any age. Attention duration revealed significantly longer looking toward the tester during mouth opening than baseline on days 1, 3 and 5, but not any other day. Looking was also significantly longer during LENs on days 12-30, but not any earlier day. Thus, we found no imitation evidence for any facial expression between postnatal days 1-30. However, mouth opening aroused more attention to the tester’s face during the early postnatal days, as did LENing in the late neonatal period. Supported by NCRR RR00166 and NICHHD 02274.