Méary, D., Li, Z. H., Li, W., Guo, K., & Pascalis, O. (2014). Seeing two faces together: preference formation in humans and rhesus macaques. Animal Cognition, 17, 1107-1119.

Humans, great apes and old world monkeys show selective attention to faces depending on conspecificity, familiarity, and social status supporting the view that primates share similar face processing mechanisms. Although many studies have been done on face scanning strategy in monkeys and humans, the mechanisms influencing viewing preference have received little attention. To determine how face categories influence viewing preference in humans and rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), we performed two eye-tracking experiments using a visual preference task whereby pairs of faces from different species were presented simultaneously. The results indicated that viewing time was significantly influenced by the pairing of the face categories. Humans showed a strong bias towards an own-race face in an Asian–Caucasian condition. Rhesus macaques directed more attention towards non-human primate faces when they were paired with human faces, regardless of the species. When rhesus faces were paired with faces from Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) or chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), the novel species’ faces attracted more
attention. These results indicate that monkeys’ viewing preferences, as assessed by a visual preference task, are modulated by several factors, species and dominance being the most
influential.

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