Supplementary Figures and Tables from Fearful but not happy expressions boost face detection in human infants

Human adults show an attentional bias towards fearful faces, an adaptive behaviour that relies on amygdala function. This attentional bias emerges in infancy between 5 and 7 months, but the underlying developmental mechanism is unknown. To examine possible precursors, we investigated whether 3.5-, 6- and 12-month-old infants show facilitated <i>detection</i> of fearful faces in noise, compared to happy faces. Happy or fearful faces, mixed with noise, were presented to infants (<i>N</i> = 192), paired with pure noise. We applied multivariate pattern analyses to several measures of infant looking behaviour to derive a criterion-free, continuous measure of face detection evidence in each trial. Analyses of the resulting psychometric curves supported the hypothesis of a detection advantage for fearful faces compared to happy faces, from 3.5 months of age and across all age groups. Overall, our data show a readiness to detect fearful faces (compared to happy faces) in younger infants that developmentally precedes the previously documented attentional bias to fearful faces in older infants and adults.