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Eye movement differences when recognising and learning moving and static faces

Butcher, N., Bennetts, R.J., Sexton, L., Barbanta, A. and Lander, K. (2024) Eye movement differences when recognising and learning moving and static faces. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. p. 211. ISSN 1747-0218

Item Type: Article


Seeing a face in motion can help subsequent face recognition. Several explanations have been proposed for this “motion advantage,” but other factors that might play a role have received less attention. For example, facial movement might enhance recognition by attracting attention to the internal facial features, thereby facilitating identification. However, there is no direct evidence that motion increases attention to regions of the face that facilitate identification (i.e., internal features) compared with static faces. We tested this hypothesis by recording participants’ eye movements while they completed the famous face recognition (Experiment 1, N = 32), and face-learning (Experiment 2, N = 60, Experiment 3, N = 68) tasks, with presentation style manipulated (moving or static). Across all three experiments, a motion advantage was found, and participants directed a higher proportion of fixations to the internal features (i.e., eyes, nose, and mouth) of moving faces versus static. Conversely, the proportion of fixations to the internal non-feature area (i.e., cheeks, forehead, chin) and external area (Experiment 3) was significantly reduced for moving compared with static faces (all ps < .05). Results suggest that during both familiar and unfamiliar face recognition, facial motion is associated with increased attention to internal facial features, but only during familiar face recognition is the magnitude of the motion advantage significantly related functionally to the proportion of fixations directed to the internal features.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Face recognition, eye movements, motion, internal features
Depositing User: Laura Sexton


Item ID: 17634
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1747-0218
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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 21 May 2024 13:55
Last Modified: 21 May 2024 14:09


Author: N. Butcher
Author: R.J. Bennetts
Author: L. Sexton
Author: A. Barbanta
Author: K. Lander

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Psychology



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