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Leia Vrancken, Filip Germeys, Karl Verfaillie; Holistic integration of gaze cues in visual face and body perception: Evidence from the composite design. Journal of Vision 2017;17(1):24. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.1.24.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
A considerable amount of research on identity recognition and emotion identification with the composite design points to the holistic processing of these aspects in faces and bodies. In this paradigm, the interference from a nonattended face half on the perception of the attended half is taken as evidence for holistic processing (i.e., a composite effect). Far less research, however, has been dedicated to the concept of gaze. Nonetheless, gaze perception is a substantial component of face and body perception, and holds critical information for everyday communicative interactions. Furthermore, the ability of human observers to detect direct versus averted eye gaze is effortless, perhaps similar to identity perception and emotion recognition. However, the hypothesis of holistic perception of eye gaze has never been tested directly. Research on gaze perception with the composite design could facilitate further systematic comparison with other aspects of face and body perception that have been investigated using the composite design (i.e., identity and emotion). In the present research, a composite design was administered to assess holistic processing of gaze cues in faces (Experiment 1) and bodies (Experiment 2). Results confirmed that eye and head orientation (Experiment 1A) and head and body orientation (Experiment 2A) are integrated in a holistic manner. However, the composite effect was not completely disrupted by inversion (Experiments 1B and 2B), a finding that will be discussed together with implications for future research.
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