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I don't have a complete answer, but I'll add on to Christian's comment. I'm not really familiar with an evolutionary account of facial expressions, but folks like Adam K. Anderson have implied that the original use of facial features for sensory sampling have been co-opted for social use (e.g., to indicate attention, which Christian pointed out, or affect, ...


Eye contact is one of the principal cues humans use to evaluate where other people direct their attention. A special issue on the use of eye tracking in the Infancy journal and other studies reported that infants' eyes are useful measures of attention over a range of task domains including object perception (Johnson, Slemmer, & Amso, 2004), faces (Hunnis ...

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