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      Contextually-Based Social Attention Diverges across Covert and Overt Measures

      1 , * , 2 , 1

      Vision

      MDPI

      social attention, attentional biasing, faces, context

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          Abstract

          Humans spontaneously attend to social cues like faces and eyes. However, recent data show that this behavior is significantly weakened when visual content, such as luminance and configuration of internal features, as well as visual context, such as background and facial expression, are controlled. Here, we investigated attentional biasing elicited in response to information presented within appropriate background contexts. Using a dot-probe task, participants were presented with a face–house cue pair, with a person sitting in a room and a house positioned within a picture hanging on a wall. A response target occurred at the previous location of the eyes, mouth, top of the house, or bottom of the house. Experiment 1 measured covert attention by assessing manual responses while participants maintained central fixation. Experiment 2 measured overt attention by assessing eye movements using an eye tracker. The data from both experiments indicated no evidence of spontaneous attentional biasing towards faces or facial features in manual responses; however, an infrequent, though reliable, overt bias towards the eyes of faces emerged. Together, these findings suggest that contextually-based social information does not determine spontaneous social attentional biasing in manual measures, although it may act to facilitate oculomotor behavior.

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          Most cited references 62

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          Attentional bias in emotional disorders.

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            Looking at upside-down faces.

             Robert K. Yin (1969)
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              Contextual cueing: implicit learning and memory of visual context guides spatial attention.

              Global context plays an important, but poorly understood, role in visual tasks. This study demonstrates that a robust memory for visual context exists to guide spatial attention. Global context was operationalized as the spatial layout of objects in visual search displays. Half of the configurations were repeated across blocks throughout the entire session, and targets appeared within consistent locations in these arrays. Targets appearing in learned configurations were detected more quickly. This newly discovered form of search facilitation is termed contextual cueing. Contextual cueing is driven by incidentally learned associations between spatial configurations (context) and target locations. This benefit was obtained despite chance performance for recognizing the configurations, suggesting that the memory for context was implicit. The results show how implicit learning and memory of visual context can guide spatial attention towards task-relevant aspects of a scene.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Vision (Basel)
                Vision (Basel)
                vision
                Vision
                MDPI
                2411-5150
                10 June 2019
                June 2019
                : 3
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue, Montreal, QC H3A 1B1, Canada
                [2 ]Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
                Author notes
                Article
                vision-03-00029
                10.3390/vision3020029
                6802786
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                Categories
                Article

                context, faces, attentional biasing, social attention

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