Gaze perception requires focused attention: evidence from an interference task

Burton, A.M., Bindemann, M., Langton, S.R.H., Schweinberger, S.R. and Jenkins, R. (2009) Gaze perception requires focused attention: evidence from an interference task. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35(1), pp. 108-118. (doi:10.1037/0096-1523.35.1.108)

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Abstract

The direction of another person's gaze is difficult to ignore when presented at the center of attention. In 6 experiments, perception of unattended gaze was investigated. Participants made directional (left-right) judgments to gazing-face or pointing-hand targets, which were accompanied by a distractor face or hand. Processing of the distractor was assessed via congruency effects on target response times. Congruency effects were found from the direction of distractor hands but not from the direction of distractor gazes (Experiment 1). This pattern persisted even when distractor sizes were increased to compensate for their peripheral presentation (Experiments 2 and 5). In contrast, congruency effects were exerted by profile heads (Experiments 3 and 4). In Experiment 6, isolated eye region distractors produced no congruency effects, even when they were presented near the target. These results suggest that, unlike other facial information, gaze direction cannot be perceived outside the focus of attention.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burton, Prof Anthony and Bindemann, Mr Markus and Jenkins, Dr Rob
Authors: Burton, A.M., Bindemann, M., Langton, S.R.H., Schweinberger, S.R., and Jenkins, R.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Journal Abbr.:J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform.
ISSN:0096-1523
ISSN (Online):1939-1277

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