July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Exploring the left eye bias for faces
Author Affiliations
  • Elina Birmingham
    Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
  • Dawn Chan
    Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
  • Victoria Kling
    Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
  • Dominic Trevisan
    Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 583. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.583
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      Elina Birmingham, Dawn Chan, Victoria Kling, Dominic Trevisan; Exploring the left eye bias for faces. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):583. https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.583.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Observers show an attentional bias for the left visual field (LVF) relative to the right visual field (RVF) of face stimuli (e.g., Butler et al., 2005 Neuropsychologia). Recent work using the Moving Window Technique (MWT) revealed that a specific bias to explore the eye region within the LVF (LVF-eye) emerges at 11-12 years of age and reaches significance in adulthood (Birmingham, Meixner, Iarocci, Kanan, Smilek, & Tanaka, in press at Child Development). The present study examined whether the LVF-eye bias is modulated by the type of expression (basic vs. complex expressions).

In the MWT, the observer explores a blurry face with a mouse-controlled window of high-resolution information. Experiment 1: 64 images consisting of four basic expressions (happy, angry, fearful, disgusted) were presented (n=17). Experiment 2: 20 images of basic (e.g., sad, afraid, angry) and complex (e.g., admiring, guilty, flirting) expressions were presented (n=9; preliminary data). In both experiments, the starting position of the exploration window was counterbalanced, occurring to the left or the right of the face on alternating trials.

Experiment 1: the LVF-eye was explored more than the RVF-eye (LVF-eye M=0.24 vs. RVF-eye M=0.16), p<0.05. The bias to explore the LVF-eye did not vary as a function of emotion (happy, angry, fearful, disgusted). In Experiment 2, the LVF-eye bias was stronger for complex expressions (LVF-eye M=0.25 vs. RVF-eye M=0.19) than for basic expressions (LVF-eye M=0.22 vs. RVF-eye M=0.20), p<0.05. Exploration of the mouth was reduced for complex expressions relative to basic expressions.

The LVF-eye bias is enhanced for complex expressions, suggesting a functional role in expression recognition.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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