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Bruce Bridgeman, Cory Little; Gaze Bias in Perception for Canine and Human Faces. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1210. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.1210.
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The ability to read emotional information from a face has clear evolutionary advantages for social animals. Recent research shows that humans have a gaze bias towards the left side of a face image (the right side of the face), and this bias might be controlled by the emotional content of the face. This might be due to more emotional expression on the right side of the face. Since canines have been co-evolving with humans for thousands of years, we might process canine faces in a similar manner. We investigated lateral gaze bias to photographs of objects, human faces, and dog faces. If gaze bias is based on a fixed preference to inspect the right side of the face more then the left, left-right reversal of the face should not have an effect. We found that reversing the image did not change the scanpath for either dogs or human faces, but there was a significant bias to look more on the left side of the image for dog faces than human faces. This suggests that when a face is thought to express more emotion, there is more left bias for the image, not specifically the right side of the original face. We found no support for the alternative hypothesis that the decision about where to concentrate the gaze is determined in real time by immediately available cues. Rather, the right-face bias is hard-wired.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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