June 2007
Volume 7, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2007
Women, but not men, prefer to fixate on the right side of a face
Author Affiliations
  • Joan Chiao
    Northwestern University
  • Steven Franconeri
    Northwestern University
Journal of Vision June 2007, Vol.7, 8. doi:10.1167/7.9.8
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      Joan Chiao, Steven Franconeri; Women, but not men, prefer to fixate on the right side of a face. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):8. doi: 10.1167/7.9.8.

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Abstract

Previous studies have shown that people perceive greater emotion from the right-side relative to the left side of the face. Additionally, females have been shown to have greater emotional acuity relative to males. Here we examined gender differences in face perception using eye-tracking. Female and male participants viewed pictures of female and male neutral faces, separated by blank intervals, and were asked intentionally encoded each face while eye movements were recorded. Each of the total 33,000 fixations were coded as falling in one of 22 individual face regions. For each subject, the average percentage of the 5 second looking time spent in each region was calculated, and 4 regions were fixated a standard deviation more than the rest. Results indicate that females preferred to look at the eye region significantly more than males, regardless of the gender of the face target. Moreover, females especially preferred to look at the right eye relative to the left eye o! f both female and male faces while males did not demonstrate a laterality preference. By contrast, males spent significantly more time looking at the upper nose region relative to females, regardless of whether they were looking at a male or female face. Taken together, these results reveal a striking gender difference in the visual strategy employed during face encoding, and this lateralization difference in perceptual strategy may have further implications for understanding how and why gender differences in emotional acuity occur.

Chiao, J. Franconeri, S. (2007). Women, but not men, prefer to fixate on the right side of a face [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 7(9):8, 8a, http://journalofvision.org/7/9/8/, doi:10.1167/7.9.8. [CrossRef]
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