Effect of Pre-Presentation of a Frontal Face on the Shift of Visual Attention Induced by Averted Gaze


Visual attention is induced to shift to another person’s gaze direction. We employed a two-frame stimulus presentation procedure to investigate the effect of pre-presentation of a frontal face on this attentional shift. The first frame showed a frontal-gaze face, while the second frame showed an averted-gaze face. Reaction time (RT) to a target suddenly appearing to the left or right of the averted face image was measured. The results showed that an averted face with averted gaze induced an attentional shift in the gaze direction, while presentation of a frontal-gaze face as the first-frame stimulus resulted in two different effects on RTs. The RTs were generally shorter when the frontal face was presented irrespective of the gaze-target directional congruency, while prepresenting the frontal face for 300 ms elongated the RTs. The former might arise from a priming effect and the latter might arise from re-processing of the face from which gaze direction is estimated. We concluded that the first-frame stimulus could facilitate the general response to the target, but could not facilitate an attentional shift, in spite of the existence of an apparent motion cue from the head motion.

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Ogawa, M. , Seno, T. , Ito, H. & Sunaga, S. (2014). Effect of Pre-Presentation of a Frontal Face on the Shift of Visual Attention Induced by Averted Gaze. Psychology, 5, 451-460. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.55055.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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