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Does facial expression affect attention orienting by gaze direction cues?

by Jari K Hietanen, Jukka M Leppänen
Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance ()

Abstract

In 6 experiments, the authors investigated whether attention orienting by gaze direction is modulated by the emotional expression (neutral, happy, angry, or fearful) on the face. The results showed a clear spatial cuing effect by gaze direction but no effect by facial expression. In addition, it was shown that the cuing effect was stronger with schematic faces than with real faces, that gaze cuing could be achieved at very short stimulus onset asynchronies (14 ms), and that there was no evidence for a difference in the strength of cuing triggered by static gaze cues and by cues involving apparent motion of the pupils. In sum, the results suggest that in normal, healthy adults, eye direction processing for attention shifts is independent of facial expression analysis.

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