September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
The face-dependency effect of gaze in working memory: Face context modulates memory performance of gaze
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shujuan Ye
    Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • Ziyi Duan
    Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • Tian Ye
    Shandong Normal University, Jinan, China
  • Xiaowei Ding
    Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This research was supported by Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China [19YJC190004] and Sun Yat-Sen University [19wkzd23] to Xiaowei Ding.
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2197. doi:
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Shujuan Ye, Ziyi Duan, Tian Ye, Xiaowei Ding; The face-dependency effect of gaze in working memory: Face context modulates memory performance of gaze. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2197.

      Download citation file:

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

  • Supplements

Gaze is thought to be one of the most important social cues. To enable fluent social interaction, we not only need to read the information behind other’s gaze via immediate perception, but also need to store it in the working memory (WM) to continuously keep track of its dynamic changes. However, little is known about how WM retains gaze information. In the current study, we examined whether the storage of gaze information operated independently of other cognitive processes and proposed two competing hypotheses. (1) Given the significance of eye gaze, a dedicated system for memorizing gaze information may exist. If so, gaze direction can be stored in WM independently and insusceptible to its face context (the independent-storage hypothesis). (2) Since gaze is presented in the surrounding of its face context all the time, the gaze-face binding may lead to the expertise of joint processing. If so, the face context would modulate WM performance of gaze direction (the binding-storage hypothesis). Two experiments using the method-of-adjustment were designed to examine the effects of face inversion on gaze direction memory. In Experiment 1, the target gaze was presented within an upright or inverted face context. We asked if there would be a damage to WM performance when configural face context was disrupted. While in Experiment 2, the probed target was eye region only, and we examined the interference effect of distracting gaze within face context. Results showed that inverted face impaired gaze memory accessibility but not precision (Experiment 1); moreover, upright faces caused more interference on memory accessibility than inverted faces when regarded as distractors (Experiment 2). These findings suggest that gaze direction memory is highly face context-dependent and support the binding-storage hypothesis. Our ability of effectively processing gaze information to some extent benefits from the face context.


This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.