Fractionating the stare-in-the-crowd effect: Two distinct, obligatory biases in search for gaze.
Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance
American Psychological Association
MetadataShow full item record
Ramamoorthy, N., Plaisted, K., & Davis, G. (2019). Fractionating the stare-in-the-crowd effect: Two distinct, obligatory biases in search for gaze.. Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance, 45 (8), 1015-1030. https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000655
Direct gaze – someone gazing at you – is an important social cue that might be expected to capture visual attention, even in the presence of other faces. Consistent with this, direct gazing eyes are often detected more rapidly in arrays of averted gazing eyes, than vice versa; a search asymmetry termed the 'Stare in the Crowd Effect' (SITCE). Here, we examine top-down influences on the SITCE by manipulating observers' knowledge of the target's gaze prior to the search display. Our findings revealed two dissociable components of the SITCE. The first, which scaled with set size but was unaffected by prior knowledge, was attributed to noisy, parallel gaze processing that guides attention toward direct gaze ('Process 1'). The second, an overall response time advantage for direct versus averted gaze targets, irrespective of set size, was attributed to criteria for determining target presence versus absence ('Process 2'). Prior knowledge of the target's gaze direction increased the direct gaze advantage, rather than speeding up responses for both target types (typically expected for 100% valid cues). This unusual pattern suggests that top-down gaze-related influences may comprise an obligatory bias toward direct gaze.
Humans, Social Perception, Space Perception, Fixation, Ocular, Adolescent, Adult, Female, Male, Young Adult, Facial Recognition
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000655
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/290161