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Puneeth Chakravarthula, Miguel Eckstein; Eye movements during challenging cultural group identification of faces . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):70. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.70.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Initial fixations are critical in acquiring most of the information supporting face identification (Hsiao et al., 2008; Or et al., 2015). Preferred initial eye movements for a majority of humans are directed to points just below the eyes which vary moderately across tasks (identity, gender and emotion; Peterson et al., 2012). Here, we compare the perceptual performance and initial eye movements of Indian and Caucasian observers in a difficult cultural group identification task: North vs. South Indians. Methods: An in-house image data set of North and South Indian faces was created in India by verifying the heritage of the photographed individuals. Indian and Caucasian observers were presented with a face from the image set (90 North and 90 South Indian faces) for 1.5 s. and categorized the face as North or South Indian. Each face was shown twice across 4 sessions with 90 trials each. At the beginning of each session the subjects were allowed to study, for 1 minute, a total of 12 North and 12 South Indian faces (not included in the main study) with ground truth. There was no feedback during the experiment. Results: Average perceptual accuracies identifying the cultural group of the faces were significantly higher for the Indian observers (60 ± 1.5 %) relative to the Caucasian observers, who were at chance (50 ± 1.8 %). However, there initial points of fixation across Indian and Caucasian observers were similar with both groups looking to a point just below the eyes. Conclusions: Our results suggest that initial preferred points of fixation for identifying the cultural group of a face might be similar to those for determining the identity of a face. The difference in accuracy identifying the cultural group across Indians and Caucasians cannot be attributed to variations in strategy in the preferred initial fixations.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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