Anderson, N., Risko, E., Bischof, W. F., and Kingstone, A. (2011). Motion and geometry in gaze discrimination. 52nd Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, #1090, 90-91.
It is typically thought that the discrimination of gaze direction relies on the use of the ratio of iris to sclera in the visible part of the eye. However, when people move their eyes, their change in eye direction also carries a motion signal. Here, we directly compared the relative contribution of motion vs. geometrical cues in the perception of another's gaze. Participants were shown two images: a person looking straight ahead and then looking to the left or right 3 different distances from centre. This resulted in the apparent motion of the eyes to the left or right. To eliminate the motion signal, participants received the final eye position only. Geometrical cues were manipulated with contrast polarity. Participants judged the direction of the perceived eye movement. Results suggest that both motion cues and geometrical cues systematically influence the perception of gaze.
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