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Publication Detail
The categories, frequencies, and stability of idiosyncratic eye-movement patterns to faces.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Arizpe J, Walsh V, Yovel G, Baker CI
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Vision research
  • Medium:
  • Print ISSN:
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  • Addresses:
    Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA; Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, United Kingdom; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; Boston Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Jamaica Plain, MA, USA. Electronic address: joseph_arizpe@hms.harvard.edu.
The spatial pattern of eye-movements to faces considered typical for neurologically healthy individuals is a roughly T-shaped distribution over the internal facial features with peak fixation density tending toward the left eye (observer's perspective). However, recent studies indicate that striking deviations from this classic pattern are common within the population and are highly stable over time. The classic pattern actually reflects the average of these various idiosyncratic eye-movement patterns across individuals. The natural categories and respective frequencies of different types of idiosyncratic eye-movement patterns have not been specifically investigated before, so here we analyzed the spatial patterns of eye-movements for 48 participants to estimate the frequency of different kinds of individual eye-movement patterns to faces in the normal healthy population. Four natural clusters were discovered such that approximately 25% of our participants' fixation density peaks clustered over the left eye region (observer's perspective), 23% over the right eye-region, 31% over the nasion/bridge region of the nose, and 20% over the region spanning the nose, philthrum, and upper lips. We did not find any relationship between particular idiosyncratic eye-movement patterns and recognition performance. Individuals' eye-movement patterns early in a trial were more stereotyped than later ones and idiosyncratic fixation patterns evolved with time into a trial. Finally, while face inversion strongly modulated eye-movement patterns, individual patterns did not become less distinct for inverted compared to upright faces. Group-averaged fixation patterns do not represent individual patterns well, so exploration of such individual patterns is of value for future studies of visual cognition.
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