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Claudiu Simion, Shinsuke Shimojo; A systematic investigation of the gaze manipulation effect. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):282. doi: 10.1167/6.6.282.
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We (Shimojo, Simion et al, 2003) have advanced the hypothesis that orienting behavior and cognition interact in a positive feedback loop forming the backbone of preference decisions. The fewer the cognitive “reasons” to prefer a stimulus in a comparison task, the stronger the influence of orienting behavior. We demonstrated that orienting can directly influence subjects' preference decision by manipulating subjects' gaze, and that the stimuli oriented towards for longer times were chosen as more attractive when the difference in base attractiveness rating was small. The effect was not due to mere exposure. The present study is a systematic investigation of the phenomenon of gaze manipulation under various cognitive loads. Observers rated a human face database for attractiveness, after which they were presented with pairs of faces drawn from this database. The pairing was done so that the difference in attractiveness rating varies from large to zero. One of the faces was the “target”, and the subject was forced to orient to it longer. We show that, regardless of the initial difference in rating, the percentage of cases in which the target face is chosen is on-average 14 percent larger in the gaze manipulation compared to the control task. We conclude that orienting influences preference at all levels of cognitive load, making a stimulus initially considered less attractive more likely to be preferred.
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