Selective attention to static and dynamic faces and facial cues

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2013, 2014
Stoesz, Brenda Marie
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Journal of Vision
Frontiers in Psychology
Much of what is known about how we process faces comes from research using static stimuli. Thus, the primary goal of the present series of studies was to compare the processing of more naturalistic, dynamic face stimuli to the processing of static face stimuli. A second goal of the present series of studies was to provide insight into the development of attentional mechanisms that underlie perception of faces. Results from the eye-tracking study (Chapter 2) indicated that viewers attended to faces more than to other parts of the static or dynamic social scenes. Importantly, motion cues were associated with a reduction in the number, but an increase in the average duration of fixations on faces. Children showed the largest effects related to the introduction of motion cues, suggesting that they find dynamic faces difficult to process. Then using selective attention tasks (Chapters 3-5), interactions between the processing of facial expression and identity while participants viewed static and dynamic faces were examined. When processing static faces, viewers experienced significant interference from task-irrelevant cues (expression or identity) while processing the relevant cues (identity or expression). Age-related differences in interference effects were not evident (Chapter 3); however, biological sex and perceptual biases did contribute to the levels of interference seen with static faces (Chapters 4-5). During dynamic trials, however, viewers (regardless of age, sex, or perceptual bias) experienced negligible interference from task-irrelevant facial cues. Taken together, these findings stress the importance of using dynamic displays when characterizing typical face processing mechanisms, using the same methods across development, and of considering individual differences when examining various face processing abilities.
eye-tracking, development, nonrigid motion, sex differences, identity, expression
Stoesz, B. M., & Jakobson, L. S. (2013). A sex difference in interference between identity and expression judgments with static but not dynamic faces. Journal of Vision, 13(5):26, 1–14,, doi:10. 1167/13.5.26.
Stoesz, B. M., & Jakobson, L. S. (2014). Developmental changes in attention to faces and bodies in static and dynamic scenes. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(193). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg. 2014.00193