Quick, eyes! Isolated upper face regions but not artificial features elicit rapid saccades
Human faces elicit faster saccades than objects or animals, resonating with the great importance of faces for our species. The underlying mechanisms are largely unclear. Here, we test two hypotheses based on previous findings. First, ultra-rapid saccades toward faces may not depend on the presence of the whole face, but the upper face region ... containing the eye region. Second, ultra-rapid saccades toward faces (and possibly face parts) may emerge from our extensive experience with this stimulus and thus extend to glasses and masks – artificial features frequently encountered as part of a face. To test these hypotheses, we asked 43 participants to complete a saccadic choice task, which contrasted images of whole, upper and lower faces, face masks, and glasses with car images. The resulting data confirmed ultra-rapid saccades for isolated upper face regions, but not for artificial facial features.
Original publication in
Journal of vision 23, 5 (2023), 1-9, 2