It is well documented that facial disfigurements can generate avoidance responses in observers towards the afflicted person, yet less is known about the effect of a facial disfigurement on attention to and perception of faces. In two experiments we studied overt and covert attention to laterally presented face stimuli when these contained a unilateral disfiguring feature (a simulated portwine stain), an occluding feature, or no salient feature. In Experiment 1, observers’ eye movements were tracked while they explored laterally presented faces which they had to rate for attractiveness. Overt attention, as measured by the patterns of fixations on the face, was found to be significantly affected by the presence of a facial disfigurement or an occluder. In Experiment2, we used a covert orienting task with bilaterally presented target and distractor to measure the interference effect induced by a distractor face (disfigured, occluded, or normal) on a non facetarget discrimination task. The presence of a face increased response times to the target stimulus,but this interference was not modulated by the presence of a salient feature (disfigurement or occluder). Together, these results suggest that the presence of salient features affect overt but not the covert processing of faces.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Aug 2015|
|Event||38th European Conference on Visual Perception - Liverpool, United Kingdom|
Duration: 24 Aug 2016 → 27 Aug 2016
ECVP 2015 Abstract: 38th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) 2015 Liverpool