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Shannon E. Morgan; Orientation cues used to determine group center-of-attention. Journal of Vision 2002;2(7):446. doi: 10.1167/2.7.446.
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A hierarchical system of orientation cues enables observers to discern the focus of attention of other individuals. The present study assesses the value and strength of the information provided by the primary (internal facial features) and secondary (external outline shape) cues in determining both individual direction-of-attention and group-center-of-attention. In the first experiment, participants viewed natural black-and-white photographs and silhouettes of four different individuals in eight different orientations. Participants' task was to indicate where they thought the image was “looking.” In the second experiment, participants viewed natural black-and-white photographs and silhouettes containing groups of three individuals, and their task was to indicate individual orientation and group-center-of attention. The results indicated that internal cues enhance viewers' ability to discern the group center-of-attention, but that outline shape alone is largely sufficient to determine the focus of attention. The overall findings support the concept that group center-of-attention is discernable through the use of simple orientation cues.
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