Recent monkey studies provide intriguing information for an open question whether face processing is a special perceptual process and is organized as such at birth, or has its origin in a more general system that becomes specialized with experience. Before seeing any faces or face-like objects, macaque monkeys showed a preference for faces rather than nonface objects. Furthermore, they showed remarkable face processing abilities both for human and monkey faces. It was also shown that macaque newborns are able to imitate human facial gestures, indicating the ability to match their own facial movements to observed facial gestures. Taken together, it seems very likely that newborns can acquire the knowledge about the basic structure of their own face, presumably through proprioception, so that facial structure would become a familiar and attractive visual object without the experience of the face itself.
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