Averted eye-gaze disrupts configural face encoding

Steven G. Young, Michael L. Slepian, John Paul Wilson, Kurt Hugenberg

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Faces are processed in a configural manner (i.e., without decomposition into individual face features), an effect attributed to humans having a high degree of face processing expertise. However, even when perceiver expertise is accounted for, configural processing is subject to a number of influences, including the social relevance of a face. In the current research, we present two experiments that document the influence of eye-gaze direction (direct or averted) on configural encoding of faces. Experiment 1 uses a version of the composite face paradigm to investigate how eye-gaze influences configural encoding. The results indicate that averted gaze disrupts configural encoding compared to direct eye-gaze. Experiment 2 manipulates whether perceivers can engage in configural encoding using face-inversion, and finds the inversion effects are greater for faces with direct than averted-gaze. We interpret these results as evidence that averted eye-gaze signals that a face is subjectively unimportant, thereby disrupting configural encoding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-99
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume53
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

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Keywords

  • Eye-gaze
  • Face memory
  • Face perception

Cite this

Young, Steven G. ; Slepian, Michael L. ; Wilson, John Paul ; Hugenberg, Kurt. / Averted eye-gaze disrupts configural face encoding. In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 2014 ; Vol. 53. pp. 94-99.
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Averted eye-gaze disrupts configural face encoding. / Young, Steven G.; Slepian, Michael L.; Wilson, John Paul; Hugenberg, Kurt.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 53, 01.01.2014, p. 94-99.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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