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Faces capture attention: Evidence from inhibition of return

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The human face is a visual pattern of great social and biological importance. While previous studies have shown that attention may be preferentially directed and engaged longer by faces, the current study presents a new methodology to test the notion that faces can capture attention. The present study uses the occurrence of inhibition of return (IOR) as a diagnostic tool to determine the allocation of attention in visual space. Because previous research suggested that IOR at a location in space only occurs after attention has been reflexively moved to that location, the current finding of IOR at the location of the face provides converging support for the claim that faces do have the ability to summon attention.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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