The effect of disfiguring features on covert and overt attention to faces

Luc Boutsen, Nathan Pearson, Martin Jüttner

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract

Abstract

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.
LanguageEnglish
Article number1P1M057
Pages17
Number of pages1
JournalPerception
Volume44
Issue numberSuppl.1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015
Event38th European Conference on Visual Perception - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Aug 201627 Aug 2016

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Eye movements
Experiments
Processing
Eye Movements
Reaction Time
Coloring Agents

Bibliographical note

ECVP 2015 Abstract: 38th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) 2015 Liverpool

Cite this

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title = "The effect of disfiguring features on covert and overt attention to faces",
abstract = "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.",
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The effect of disfiguring features on covert and overt attention to faces. / Boutsen, Luc; Pearson, Nathan; Jüttner, Martin.

In: Perception, Vol. 44, No. Suppl.1, 1P1M057, 31.08.2015, p. 17.

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract

TY - JOUR

T1 - The effect of disfiguring features on covert and overt attention to faces

AU - Boutsen, Luc

AU - Pearson, Nathan

AU - Jüttner, Martin

N1 - ECVP 2015 Abstract: 38th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) 2015 Liverpool

PY - 2015/8/31

Y1 - 2015/8/31

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

UR - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0301006615598674

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