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Looking back at the stare-in-the-crowd effect: Staring eyes do not capture attention in visual search

Citation
Cooper RM, Law AS & Langton S (2013) Looking back at the stare-in-the-crowd effect: Staring eyes do not capture attention in visual search, Journal of Vision, 13 (6), Art. No.: 10.

Abstract
The stare-in-the crowd effect refers to the finding that a visual search for a target of staring eyes among averted- eyesdistractersismoreefficientthanthesearchforan averted-eyes target among staring distracters. This finding could indicate that staring eyes are prioritized in the processing of the search array so that attention is more likely to be directed to their location than to any other. However, visual search is a complex process, which not only depends upon the properties of the target, but also the similarity between the target of the search and the distractor items and between the distractor items themselves. Across five experiments, we show that the search asymmetry diagnostic of the stare- in-the-crowd effect is more likely to be the result of a failure to control for the similarity among distracting items between the two critical search conditions rather than any special attention-grabbing property of staring gazes. Our results suggest that, contrary to results reported in the literature, staring gazes are not prioritized by attention in visual search.

Keywords
stare-in-the-crowd; gaze perception; visual attention; visual search

StatusPublished
AuthorsCooper Robbie M, Law Anna S, Langton Stephen
Publication date05/2013
PublisherAssociation for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
ISSN 1534-7362
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Journal of Vision: Volume 13, Issue 6 (2013)

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