Carleton Author

Neiworth, Julie J.; Hassett, Janice M.; Sylvester, Cara J.



Journal Title

Animal Cognition

Publication Date


First Page



Springer Verlag

Last Page


File Name



Face processing, Monkeys, Conspecific, Perception, Tamarins


This study tests whether the face-processing sys- tem of humans and a nonhuman primate species share char- acteristics that would allow for early and quick processing

of socially salient stimuli: a sensitivity toward conspecific faces, a sensitivity toward highly practiced face stimuli, and

an ability to generalize changes in the face that do not sug- gest a new identity, such as a face differently oriented. The

look rates by adult tamarins and humans toward conspecific and other primate faces were examined to determine if these characteristics are shared. A visual paired comparison (VPC) task presented subjects with either a human face, chimpanzee face, tamarin face, or an object as a sample, and then a pair containing the previous stimulus and a novel stimulus was presented. The stimuli were either presented all in an upright

orientation, or all in an inverted orientation. The novel stim- ulus in the pair was either an orientation change of the same

face/object or a new example of the same type of face/object, and the stimuli were shown either in an upright orientation

or in an inverted orientation. Preference to novelty scores re- vealed that humans attended most to novel individual human

faces, and this effect decreased significantly if the stimuli were inverted. Tamarins showed preferential looking toward

novel orientations of previously seen tamarin faces in the up- right orientation, but not in an inverted orientation. Similarly,

their preference to look longer at novel tamarin and human faces within the pair was reduced significantly with inverted stimuli. The results confirmed prior findings in humans that novel human faces generate more attention in the upright than in the inverted orientation. The monkeys also attended more to faces of conspecifics, but showed an inversion effect J. J. Neiworth () · J. M. Hassett · C. J. Sylvester Department of Psychology, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057, USA e-mail:

to orientation change in tamarin faces and to identity changes in tamarin and human faces. The results indicate configural processing restricted to particular kinds of primate faces by

a New World monkey species, with configural processing in- fluenced by life experience (human faces and tamarin faces)

and specialized to process orientation changes specific to conspecific faces.

Rights Management

Carleton College does not own the copyright to this work and the work is available through the Carleton College Library following the original publisher's policies regarding self-archiving. For more information on the copyright status of this work, refer to the current copyright holder.

RoMEO Color


Preprint Archiving


Postprint Archiving


Publisher PDF Archiving


Contributing Organization

Carleton College