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Journal Article

The inversion effect on gaze perception reflects processing of component information


Schwaninger,  A
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Schwaninger, A., Lobmaier, J., & Fischer, M. (2005). The inversion effect on gaze perception reflects processing of component information. Experimental Brain Research, 167(1), 49-55. doi:10.1007/s00221-005-2367-x.

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When faces are turned upside-down they are much more difficult to recognize than other objects. This “face inversion effect” has often been explained by configural processing, which is impaired when faces are rotated away from the upright. Here we report a “gaze inversion effect” and discuss whether it is related to configural face processing of the whole face. Observers reported the gaze locations of photographed upright or inverted faces. When whole faces were presented, we found an inversion effect both for constant errors and observer sensitivity. These results were closely replicated when only the eyes were visible. Together, our findings suggest that gaze processing is largely based on componentbased information from the eye region. Processing this information is orientationsensitive and does not seem to rely on configural processing of the whole face.