Advertisement

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 1048–1053 | Cite as

Faces retain attention

  • Markus BindemannEmail author
  • A. Mike Burton
  • Ignace T. C. Hooge
  • Rob Jenkins
  • Edward H. F. de Haan
Brief Reports

Abstract

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 replication of Experiment 1, but with a 1,000-msec stimulus onset asynchrony between the onset of the central 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 categories. These results suggest a general attentional bias, so that it is particularly difficult to disengage processing resources from faces.

Keywords

Stimulus Onset Asynchrony Attentional Bias Face Stimulus Line Target Inverted Face 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Amir, N., Elias, J., Klumpp, H., &Przeworski, A. (2003). Attentional bias to threat in social phobia: Facilitated processing of threat or difficulty disengaging attention from threat?Behaviour Research & Therapy,41, 1325–1335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradley, B. P., Mogg, K., Falla, S. J., &Hamilton, L. R. (1998). Attentional bias for threatening facial expressions in anxiety: Manipulation of stimulus duration.Cognition & Emotion,12, 737–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bruce, V., &Young, A. W. (1986). Understanding face recognition.British Journal of Psychology,77, 305–327.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Burton, A. M., Bruce, V., &Hancock, P. J. B. (1999). From pixels to people: A model of familiar face recognition.Cognitive Science,23, 1–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burton, A. M., &Young, A. W. (1999). Simulation and explanation: Some harmony and some discord.Cognitive Neuropsychology,16, 73–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Renzi, E. (2000). Prosopagnosia. In M. J. Farah & T. E. Feinberg (Eds.),Patient-based approaches to cognitive neuroscience (pp. 85–96). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Farah, M. J., Wilson, K. D., Drain, H. M., &Tanaka, J. R. (1995). The inverted face inversion effect in prosopagnosia: Evidence for mandatory, face-specific perceptual mechanisms.Vision Research,35, 2089–2093.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fox, E., Russo, R., Bowles, R., &Dutton, K. (2001). Do threatening stimuli draw or hold visual attention in subclinical anxiety?Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,130, 681–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jones, B. T., Jones, B. C., Smith, H., &Copley, N. (2003). A flicker paradigm for inducing change blindness reveals alcohol and cannabis information processing biases in social users.Addiction,98, 235–244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kanwisher, N., McDermott, J., &Chun, M. M. (1997). The fusiform face area: A module in human extrastriate cortex specialized for face perception.Journal of Neuroscience,17, 4302–4311.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Lavie, N. (1995). Perceptual load as a necessary condition for selective attention.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,21, 451–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lavie, N. (2000). Selective attention and cognitive control: Dissociating attentional functions through different types of load. In S. Monsell & J. Driver (Eds.),Control of cognitive processes: Attention and performance XVIII (pp. 175–194). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, Bradford Books.Google Scholar
  13. Mack, A., Pappas, Z., Silverman, M., &Gay, R. (2002). What we see: Inattention and the capture of attention by meaning.Consciousness & Cognition,11, 488–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Moscovitch, M., Winocur, G., &Behrmann, M. (1997). What is special about face recognition? Nineteen experiments on a person with visual object agnosia and dyslexia but normal face recognition.Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience,9, 555–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Palermo, R., &Rhodes, G. (2003). Change detection in the flicker paradigm: Do faces have an advantage?Visual Cognition,10, 683–713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ro, T., Russell, C., &Lavie, N. (2001). Changing faces: A detection advantage in the flicker paradigm.Psychological Science,12, 94–99.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Shelley-Tremblay, J., &Mack, A. (1999). Metacontrast masking and attention.Psychological Science,10, 508–515.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Treisman, A. M. (1993). Representing visual objects. In D. E. Meyer & S. Kornblum (Eds.),Attention and performance XIV: Synergies in experimental psychology, artificial intelligence, and cognitive neuroscience (pp. 163–175). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  19. Vuilleumier, P. (2000). Faces call for attention: Evidence from patients with visual extinction.Neuropsychologia,38, 693–700.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Waters, A. J., Shiffman, S., Bradley, B. P., &Mogg, K. (2003). Attentional shifts to smoking cues in smokers.Addiction,98, 1409–1417.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Yiend, J., &Mathews, A. (2001). Anxiety and attention to threatening pictures.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,54A, 665–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Young, A. W., &Burton, A. M. (1999). Simulating face recognition: Implications for modelling cognition.Cognitive Neuropsychology, 16, 1–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Bindemann
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Mike Burton
    • 1
  • Ignace T. C. Hooge
    • 2
  • Rob Jenkins
    • 1
  • Edward H. F. de Haan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowScotland
  2. 2.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations