We are happy to announce the next live talk as part of the “Fruits of Ethology” guest talk series.
We will have the pleasure to welcome our next speaker, Yuri Kawaguchi (Messerli Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna – Japan Society for the Promotion of Science).
Yuri Kawaguchi conducted her master and PhD studies at Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan. She studied how humans and apes recognize conspecific and heterospecific adults and infants using eye-tracking, touch panel tasks, and behavioral tasks. In 2021, she got a PhD and started her postdoc at Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria. There she studies at Clever Dog Lab and her project is about dog’s recognition of age-class.
Date: 21th October, Thursday, 3.40 pm
Location: The talk will be live! ELTE, South Building, 7.110, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/c
Title: Recognition of infant faces in non-human primates
Giving adequate care to infants is critical for their survival in all mammals. Infant visual cues affect parents’ decisions for their investment. Specifically, humans recognize infant faces a unique way; for example, infant faces are easily distinguished from adult faces, attract visual attention, and are preferred. Previous studies suggest that these recognitions are related to humans’ high sensitivity to infant face shape features called “baby schema,” which is presumed to be shared across taxa. To understand the evolutionary pathway of human cognition, it is important to compare humans and non-human primates from a comparative cognitive perspective. Infants of many primate species have a conspicuous coat or skin color different from adults called “infantile coloration.” However, psychological effects (e.g., attract attention) of either baby schema or infantile coloration in non-human primates remains unclear. Thus, I studied how non-human primates recognize infant faces by comparative cognitive approaches and investigated how these infantile face features affect their responses in order to know the evolutionary pathway of humans’ recognition of infant faces and test universality and uniqueness of a primary infant face cue in primates. I conducted touch panel experiment and eye tracking experiments with capuchin monkeys, chimpanzees, and bonobos.
The main finding of my studies is that each species has species-specific visual characteristics of infants and the way of responding to them. The infant appearance and adults’ sensitivity to it in each species may be at least partially determined by ethological factors of the species, such as the existence of infanticide or the extent of alloparenting.
Márta Gácsi & Ádám Miklósi