September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Increased attention orienting by fearful faces varies with Stimulus-Onset Asynchrony
Author Affiliations
  • Sarah McCrackin
    University of Waterloo
  • Roxane Itier
    University of Waterloo
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 142. doi:
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      Sarah McCrackin, Roxane Itier; Increased attention orienting by fearful faces varies with Stimulus-Onset Asynchrony. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):142.

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

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Spontaneous orienting of attention towards an observer’s gaze direction is typically measured using a gaze-cuing paradigm in which a centrally-fixated face shifts its gaze towards (congruent) or away (incongruent) from a peripheral target. The reaction time (RT) difference between incongruent and congruent targets (gaze-orienting effect; GOE) indicates attention orienting based on gaze-cues. Studies have reported an increased GOE when the face expresses fear compared to happy or neutral expressions that might be due to the signaling of threat in the environment. However, the time course of this effect remains unclear. We used a dynamic gaze-cuing paradigm in which a neutral face with direct gaze looked to the side (averted gaze shift) and then either expressed fear or performed a neutral movement (tongue protrusion). The target was then presented after one of five Stimulus-Onset Asynchronies (SOAs; 300, 400, 500, 600, or 700 ms), the time between the gaze shift and the target onset. Overall, RTs decreased with increased SOAs, were faster for fearful than for neutral gaze-cues and faster for congruent than incongruent trials (classic GOE). The GOE was significantly larger for fearful than neutral faces, due to faster RTs for fearful than neutral faces in congruent trials, and this effect of emotion was largest at 400 and 500ms SOA. Thus, fearful expressions and gaze-cues interact to enhance orienting to congruent targets and this interaction is maximal at 400-500ms SOA. These results will be compared to gaze-cue orienting to happy and neutral faces in a second participant group.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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