Advertisement

Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 1085–1092 | Cite as

Effects of direct and averted gaze on the subsequent saccadic response

  • Hiroshi Ueda
  • Kohske Takahashi
  • Katsumi Watanabe
Article

Abstract

The saccadic latency to visual targets is susceptible to the properties of the currently fixated objects. For example, the disappearance of a fixation stimulus prior to presentation of a peripheral target shortens saccadic latencies (the gap effect). In the present study, we investigated the influences of a social signal from a facial fixation stimulus (i.e., gaze direction) on subsequent saccadic responses in the gap paradigm. In Experiment 1, a cartoon face with a direct or averted gaze was used as a fixation stimulus. The pupils of the face were unchanged (overlap), disappeared (gap), or were translated vertically to make or break eye contact (gaze shift). Participants were required to make a saccade toward a target to the left or the right of the fixation stimulus as quickly as possible. The results showed that the gaze direction influenced saccadic latencies only in the gaze shift condition, but not in the gap or overlap condition; the direct-to-averted gaze shift (i.e., breaking eye contact) yielded shorter saccadic latencies than did the averted-to-direct gaze shift (i.e., making eye contact). Further experiments revealed that this effect was eye contact specific (Exp. 2) and that the appearance of an eye gaze immediately before the saccade initiation also influenced the saccadic latency, depending on the gaze direction (Exp. 3). These results suggest that the latency of target-elicited saccades can be modulated not only by physical changes of the fixation stimulus, as has been seen in the conventional gap effect, but also by a social signal from the attended fixation stimulus.

Keywords

Eye contact Gap effect Gaze perception Saccade 

Notes

Author note

This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellows (to H.U.), by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Nos. 24300279 and 23240034, to K.W., and 25700013, to K.T.) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and by CREST (to K.W.), JST, Japan.

References

  1. Bell, A. H., Meredith, M. A., Van Opstal, A. J., & Munoz, D. P. (2006). Stimulus intensity modifies saccadic reaction time and visual response latency in the superior colliculus. Experimental Brain Research, 174, 53–59.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boch, R., Fischer, B., & Ramsperger, E. (1984). Express-saccades of the monkey: Reaction times versus intensity, size, duration, and eccentricity of their targets. Experimental Brain Research, 55, 223–231.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brainard, D. H. (1997). The Psychophysics Toolbox. Spatial Vision, 10, 433–436. doi: 10.1163/156856897X00357 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burra, N., Hervais-Adelman, A., Kerzel, D., Tamietto, M., de Gelder, B., & Pegna, A. J. (2013). Amygdala activation for eye contact despite complete cortical blindness. Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 10483–10489. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3994-12.2013 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Conty, L., Tijus, C., Hugueville, L., Coelho, E., & George, N. (2006). Searching for asymmetries in the detection of gaze contact versus averted gaze under different head views: A behavioural study. Spatial Vision, 19, 529–545.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cornelissen, F. W., Peters, E. M., & Palmer, J. (2002). The Eyelink Toolbox: Eye tracking with MATLAB and the Psychophysics Toolbox. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 34, 613–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Doi, H., & Ueda, K. (2007). Searching for a perceived stare in the crowd. Perception, 36, 773–780.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dorris, M. C., & Munoz, D. P. (1995). A neural correlate for the gap effect on saccadic reaction times in monkey. Journal of Neurophysiology, 73, 2558–2562.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Emery, N. J. (2000). The eyes have it: The neuroethology, function and evolution of social gaze. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 24, 581–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fendrich, R., Hughes, H. C., & Reuter-Lorenz, P. A. (1991). Fixation-point offsets reduce the latency of saccades to acoustic targets. Perception & Psychophysics, 50, 383–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fischer, B., & Ramsperger, E. (1984). Human express saccades: Extremely short reaction times of goal directed eye movements. Experimental Brain Research, 57, 191–195.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goffart, L., Hafed, Z. M., & Krauzlis, R. J. (2012). Visual fixation as equilibrium: Evidence from superior colliculus inactivation. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 10627–10636.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jin, Z., & Reeves, A. (2009). Attentional release in the saccadic gap effect. Vision Research, 49, 2045–2055.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Johnson, M. H. (2005). Subcortical face processing. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6, 766–774.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kalesnykas, R. P., & Hallett, P. E. (1987). The differentiation of visually guided and anticipatory saccades in gap and overlap paradigms. Experimental Brain Research, 68, 115–121.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kalesnykas, R. P., & Hallett, P. E. (1994). Retinal eccentricity and the latency of eye saccades. Vision Research, 34, 517–531.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kingstone, A., & Klein, R. M. (1993). Visual offsets facilitate saccadic latency: Does predisengagement of visuospatial attention mediate this gap effect? Journal of Experimental Psychology, 19, 1251–1265.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kleinke, C. L. (1986). Gaze and eye contact: A research review. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 78–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lovejoy, L. P., & Krauzlis, R. J. (2010). Inactivation of primate superior colliculus impairs covert selection of signals for perceptual judgments. Nature Neuroscience, 13, 261–266.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Munoz, D. P., & Wurtz, R. H. (1992). Role of the rostral superior colliculus in active visual fixation and execution of express saccades. Journal of Neurophysiology, 67, 1000–1002.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Palanica, A., & Itier, R. J. (2011). Searching for a perceived gaze direction using eye tracking. Journal of Vision, 11(2), 19. doi: 10.1167/11.2.19. 1–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pelli, D. G. (1997). The VideoToolbox software for visual psychophysics: Transforming numbers into movies. Spatial Vision, 10, 437–442. doi: 10.1163/156856897X00366 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pratt, J., Bekkering, H., Abrams, R. A., & Adam, J. (1999). The Gap effect for spatially oriented responses. Acta Psychologica, 102, 1–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pratt, J., Bekkering, H., & Leung, M. (2000). Estimating the components of the gap effect. Experimental Brain Research, 130, 258–263.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pratt, J., Lajonchere, C. M., & Abrams, R. A. (2006). Attentional modulation of the gap effect. Vision Research, 46, 2602–2607.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., Hughes, H. C., & Fendrich, R. (1991). The reduction of saccadic latency by prior offset of the fixation point: An analysis of the gap effect. Perception & Psychophysics, 49, 167–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ross, L. E., & Ross, S. M. (1980). Saccade latency and warning signals: Stimulus onset, offset, and change as warning events. Perception & Psychophysics, 27, 251–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ross, S. M., & Ross, L. E. (1981). Saccade latency and warning signals: Effects of auditory and visual stimulus onset and offset. Perception & Psychophysics, 29, 429–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Saslow, M. G. (1967). Latency for saccadic eye movement. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 57, 1024–1029.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Senju, A., & Hasegawa, T. (2005). Direct gaze captures visuospatial attention. Visual Cognition, 12, 127–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Senju, A., Hasegawa, T., & Tojo, Y. (2005). Does perceived direct gaze boost detection in adults and children with and without autism? The stare-in-the-crowd effect revisited. Visual Cognition, 12, 1474–1496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Senju, A., & Johnson, M. H. (2009). The eye contact effect: Mechanisms and development. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13, 127–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Song, J.-H., Rafal, R. D., & McPeek, R. M. (2011). Deficits in reach target selection during inactivation of the midbrain superior colliculus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 1433–1440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stein, T., Senju, A., Peelen, M. V., & Sterzer, P. (2011). Eye contact facilitates awareness of faces during interocular suppression. Cognition, 119, 307–311.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ueda, H., Takahashi, K., & Watanabe, K. (2013). Contributions of retinal input and phenomenal representation of a fixation object to the saccadic gap effect. Vision Research, 82C, 52–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Vernet, M., Yang, Q., Gruselle, M., Trams, M., & Kapoula, Z. (2009). Switching between gap and overlap pro-saccades: Cost or benefit? Experimental Brain Research, 197, 49–58. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-1887-1 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. von Grünau, M., & Anston, C. (1995). The detection of gaze direction: A stare-in-the-crowd effect. Perception, 24, 1297–1313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Walker, R., Kentridge, R. W., & Findlay, J. M. (1995). Independent contributions of the orienting of attention: Fixation offset and bilateral stimulation on human saccadic latencies. Experimental Brain Research, 103, 294–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Yokoyama, T., Ishibashi, K., Hongoh, Y., & Kita, S. (2011). Attentional capture by change in direct gaze. Perception, 40, 785–797.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroshi Ueda
    • 1
  • Kohske Takahashi
    • 1
  • Katsumi Watanabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center for Advanced Science and TechnologyUniversity of TokyoMeguro-kuJapan

Personalised recommendations