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Timothy Sweeny, Diana Mihalache; Global perception of gaze direction across time . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):737. doi: 10.1167/16.12.737.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Face perception is emergent. That is, when facial features are seen simultaneously, they are integrated and perceived as a unified whole rather than as disconnected parts. Facial features, however, are sometimes experienced sequentially. Is this emergent process flexible enough to operate in situations like these, integrating constituent features not just across space, but also across time? Alternatively, does seeing features across time disrupt or even prevent this integration? Here, we found that the global perception of another person's gaze direction, which requires integration of head and pupil rotations, can occur even when these features are seen sequentially. Observers viewed a rotated head (without eyes) for 100-msec, 1-second, or 7-seconds. Then, observers indicated the perceived gaze direction of a pair of rotated pupils shown for just 150-msec. Seeing a rotated head attracted the perceived gaze direction of a pair of pupils seen a moment later. For example, observers perceived a pair of eyes with a direct gaze as rotated to the left when they appeared after a head with this same rotation. Surprisingly, this integration persisted even when the head and eyes were separated by delays of up to 1 second, albeit to a weakened extent, suggesting a contribution from visual short term memory (VSTM). Furthermore, prolonged perception of head rotation and associated adaptation further reduced integration. These findings suggest that the visual system strikes a balance between integrating associated face parts and distinguishing between these unique features over time.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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