Visual Processing of High-Level Features in Facial Stimuli

Szymanek, L., Butler, S.H., Morand, S. and Harvey, M. (2010) Visual Processing of High-Level Features in Facial Stimuli. In: 2nd meeting of the Federation for European Societies of Neuropsychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22-24 Sep 2010, (Unpublished)

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Faces attract our attention more than other visual stimuli. Previous studies (i.e., Morand et al., in press) found stronger involuntary, stimulus-driven responses for faces compared to other stimuli (cars and noise patterns) that were matched for low-level properties, suggesting that facial stimuli contain high-level visual features that guide our saccadic eye-movements via automatic processing mechanisms. Furthermore, certain facial emotions, in particular the happy emotion, have been shown to capture and hold our attention more than other emotions. In this study we took a closer look at the automatic influence of emotions on saccadic processing by testing happy, neutral and inverted neutral faces with an anti-saccade paradigm, using 22 healthy young participants. In the pro-saccade condition, participants had to saccade towards facial stimuli that appeared either at the left or the right side of a central fixation point, while in the anti-saccade condition they had to saccade in the opposite direction, away from the stimulus target. For both conditions, results showed no differences between the facial stimuli: For the percentage of correct responses, no significant effects between the three stimuli types were found and likewise, we report no significant differences between the saccadic reaction times. Additionally in the pro-saccade condition, we did not find a significant difference regarding the fixation duration after the first saccade. These results provide no evidence that high-level visual properties of different emotional expressions guide saccadic processing.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Harvey, Professor Monika and Morand, Dr Stephanie and Szymanek, Dr Larissa
Authors: Szymanek, L., Butler, S.H., Morand, S., and Harvey, M.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
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