December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Attentional biases toward real images and drawings of negative faces
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tomoyuki Tanda
    Hokkaido University
  • Kai Toyomori
    Centre for Vision Research, York University
  • Jun-ichiro Kawahara
    Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This research was supported by grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science PC05170003 to JIK.
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3313. doi:
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      Tomoyuki Tanda, Kai Toyomori, Jun-ichiro Kawahara; Attentional biases toward real images and drawings of negative faces. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3313.

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

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Allocation of attention is affected by internal emotional states, such as anxiety and depression. Attention captured by real images of negative faces can be quantified by emotional probe tasks. Attentional bias studies suggest that attentional bias toward negative emotional faces can occur regardless of whether the faces are photographs of real faces or line drawings. However, it is true that there are critical differences among these types of face stimuli in terms of their physical properties (e.g., exaggerated facial parts or simplified and emphasized contours) and associated facial processing. It is reasonable to assume that such differences would be reflected in the attentional biases elicited by the types of face images. The present study investigated whether attentional bias toward drawings of negative faces (line drawn faces and cartoon faces) differs from that of photographs of real faces. Non-clinical university students indicated their levels of anxiety and depression via self-report questionnaires (STAI-T and S and BDI-II) and completed a probe discrimination task under three face image conditions (the photographs of real face, line drawn face, and cartoon face conditions) in a between-participants design. We examined correlations between bias scores and self-report scores. Significant correlations were found between bias scores and scores on the self-reported STAI-S (r = .266, p = .040) and BDI-II (r = .321, p = .012) under the real-face condition. However, both line drawn faces and cartoon faces were only weakly correlated with self-report scores. The present results suggest that photographs of real faces are more likely to elicit attentional bias than non-real faces, and are thus preferable for probe tasks investigating attentional bias related to facial stimuli in non-clinical adult populations.


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