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Faces retain attention

By Markus Bindemann, A. Mike Burton, Ignace T.C. Hooge, Rob Jenkins and Edward H. F. De Haan


In the present study, we investigated whether faces have an advantage in retaining attention over other stimulus categories. In three experiments, subjects were asked to focus on a central go/no-go signal before classifying a concurrently presented peripheral line target. In Experiment 1, the go/no-go signal could be superimposed on photographs of upright famous faces, matching inverted faces, or meaningful objects. Experiments 2 and 3 tested upright and inverted unfamiliar faces, printed names, and another class of meaningful objects in an identical design. A fourth experiment provided a replica- tion of Experiment 1, but with a 1,000-msec stimulus onset asynchrony between the onset of the cen- tral face/nonface stimuli and the peripheral targets. In all the experiments, the presence of an upright face significantly delayed target response times, in comparison with each of the other stimulus cat- egories. These results suggest a general attentional bias, so that it is particularly difficult to disengage processing resources from faces

Topics: BF
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.3758/bf03206442
OAI identifier: oai:kar.kent.ac.uk:26196
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