The development of infant learning about specific face-voice relations

Dev Psychol. 2005 May;41(3):541-52. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.41.3.541.


This study examined the development of infants' ability to perceive, learn, and remember the unique face-voice relations of unfamiliar adults. Infants of 2, 4, and 6 months were habituated to the faces and voices of 2 same-gender adults speaking and then received test trials where the faces and voices were synchronized yet mismatched. Results indicated that 4- and 6-month-olds, but not 2-month-olds, detected the change in face-voice pairings. Two-month-olds did, however, discriminate among the faces and voices in a control study. Results of a subsequent intermodal matching procedure indicated that only the 6-month-olds showed matching and memory for the face-voice relations. These findings suggest that infants' ability to detect the arbitrary relations between specific faces and voices of unfamiliar adults emerges between 2 and 4 months of age, whereas matching and memory for these relations emerges somewhat later, perhaps between 4 and 6 months of age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Social Perception*
  • Videotape Recording
  • Voice*