A series of experiments investigated the salience of newborn infants' facial-visual features for recognition and sex identification. Within 33 hours post-partum, mothers recognized photographs of their own offspring when presented with those of unrelated neonates. Furthermore, adult subjects were able to match photographs of unfamiliar mothers and their infants, and determine the sex of neonates, at a greater than chance level of accuracy. Although recognizable facial features are presumably genetically determined, maternal recognition of offspring probably results from brief exposure and familiarization as well as physical resemblance between the infant and other familiar family members, including the mother herself.

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