, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 98-106

Eye movements are functional during face learning


In a free viewing learning condition, participants were allowed to move their eyes naturally as they learned a set of new faces. In a restricted viewing learning condition, participants remained fixated in a single central location as they learned the new faces. Recognition of the learned faces was then tested following the two learning conditions. Eye movements were recorded during the free viewing learning condition, as well as during recognition. The recognition results showed a clear deficit following the restricted viewing condition, compared with the free viewing condition, demonstrating that eye movements play a functional role during human face learning. Furthermore, the features selected for fixation during recognition were similar following free viewing and restricted viewing learning, suggesting that the eye movements generated during recognition are not simply a recapitulation of those produced during learning.

This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grants BCS-0094433 and ECS-9874541 and Army Research Office Grant DAAD19-00-1-0519. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of the Army or any other governmental organization. Reference to or citations of trade or corporate names does not constitute explicit or implied endorsement of those entities or their products by the authors or the Department of the Army.