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Nadine Kloth, Charlotte Pugh, Gillian Rhodes; The contributions of temporal delay and face exposure to the decay of gaze direction aftereffects. Journal of Vision 2017;17(3):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.3.5.
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Gaze direction is a dynamic social signal that provides real-time insight into another person's focus of attention. Gaze adaptation induces aftereffects in the perception of gaze in subsequent faces, typically biasing it away from the adapted direction. Previous studies found that such gaze direction aftereffects persist for about 7 min when repeatedly tested immediately after adaptation, but can survive at least 24 hr when there is no testing immediately after adaptation. These findings suggest that exposure to test faces after adaptation might affect the persistence of gaze direction aftereffects more than the passing of time. The present study systematically established the contributions of time and intervening testing on the longevity of gaze direction aftereffects. Aftereffects were induced and then traced over six postadaptation tests. Participants were assigned to four groups with a delay of either 30 s, 3 min, 5.5 min, or 8 min between adaptation and the first postadaptation test. Aftereffects were strongly affected by the number of preceding postadaptation tests, but unaffected by the delay between adaptation and test, revealing that face exposure affects the longevity of aftereffects more strongly than the passing of time, at least over the time frame studied here. Our findings suggest that exposure to a substantial number of faces with an unbiased distribution of gaze directions may be necessary to overcome gaze direction aftereffects.
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