Despite a number of studies, it remains unclear whether male and female human newborns manifest different visual preferences or perceptual abilities. The goal of this project is to determine with greater confidence whether this is the case or not. In particular, we are interested in finding out whether male and female newborns show different spontaneous preferences for human faces vs. inanimate objects, as suggested by various studies, old and new (e.g., Lewis et al. 1966; Connellan et al. 2000).
The first phase of this project (suitable for an M1 internship) is to carry out a systematic literature review on this topic, to see where things stand, and to inventorize experimental protocols.
The second phase is to set up an experimental protocol for the measurement of newborn's visual preferences at the LSCP babylab within the maternity hospital, and to carry out a pilot experiment to ensure that it produces meaningful results.
The third phase (suitable for a PhD) is to carry out a series of experiments testing sex differences in preferences and perceptual abilities in newborns, using modern methodological standards.
Lewis, M., Kagan, J., & Kalafat, J. (1966). Patterns of fixation in the young infant. Child Development, 331‑341.