When Eyes Meet Across a Crowded Room: Individual Differences in Eye-Gaze Detection

Kat Stork-Brett (2010). When Eyes Meet Across a Crowded Room: Individual Differences in Eye-Gaze Detection Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Kat Stork-Brett
Thesis Title When Eyes Meet Across a Crowded Room: Individual Differences in Eye-Gaze Detection
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Andrew Bayliss
Total pages 71
Abstract/Summary This research extends prior work on von Grünau and Anston's (1995) stare-in-the-crowd effect whereby direct gaze relative to averted gaze is detected faster in visual search tasks. No research has yet explicitly investigated the effect of varying the identity of the facial stimuli presented to participants. To enhance this paradigm's ecological validity, the present study varied facial identity over three experiments. Sixty-eight non-clinical adults detected front-facing target faces with both direct and averted gaze from among variable array sizes. Two groups were formed according to high or low scores on the Autism Quotient (AQ) and their reaction times were compared in each experiment. Instead of the expected advantage for direct-gaze detection, between-subjects and within-trials manipulations of facial identity produced a tendency for participants to detect averted gaze more quickly. However, AQ score moderated this tendency: Low-AQ participants detected direct gaze faster, while High-AQ subjects were quicker to detect averted gaze. The limitations and implications of these findings are discussed in the context of previous research findings.

 
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Created: Mon, 04 Apr 2011, 14:58:05 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology