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Alexandra Frischen, Steven P. Tipper; Long-term gaze cueing effects: Evidence for retrieval of prior attentional states from memory. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):409. doi: 10.1167/5.8.409.
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When observing another person shifting their gaze to a particular location, the observer's attention moves to the same location. Such gaze-evoked attention shifts occur rapidly and automatically. The results of initial studies demonstrated that such cueing effects are fairly transient, no longer being observed after about 1000 ms. However, it is possible that cueing effects may be obtained over considerably longer intervals under certain circumstances. For example, research on peripheral cueing has suggested that attention states activated when encoding a distinct object such as a face can be retrieved from memory when the face is encountered again after several minutes (Tipper et al, 2003). In those experiments, encoding and retrieval of distinct episodes was encouraged by the use of rich and unique stimuli with many intervening trials between matching cue- and target-displays. In contrast, experiments on gaze cueing typically employed uniform gray-scale pictures of a single face and presented cue and target within the same trial. In the current work we utilized the critical features of the Tipper et al study (rich, colourful stimuli and many intervening trials). Under these circumstances, we observed long-term gaze cueing effects over a period of about 3 minutes. We propose that the attentional state associated with the gaze direction of a particular face can be retrieved from memory when the face is re-encountered some minutes later.
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