Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Direct Gaze Enhances Face Perception

Date:
August 15, 2008
Source:
Academy of Finland
Summary:
Gaze direction is significant for the processing of visual information from the human face. Researchers have discovered that the visual system of the brain processes another person's face more efficiently when the person's gaze is straight ahead than when the gaze is averted.

Gaze direction is significant for the processing of visual information from the human face. Researchers in an Academy of Finland funded research project have discovered that the visual system of the brain processes another person’s face more efficiently when the person’s gaze is straight ahead than when the gaze is averted.

Related Articles


The research is part of the Academy’s Research Programme on Neuroscience (NEURO).

This finding demonstrates the key importance of gaze direction in human interaction and shows how another person’s gaze direction affects even the most basic facial perception. “Our studies also show that the eye contact between two persons and an averted gaze affect the functions of the neural mechanisms that regulate approach and avoidance behaviour. Another person’s direct gaze prepares for an approach, an averted gaze for avoidance,” said head of the research, Professor Jari Hietanen from the University of Tampere at the Academy’s Science Breakfast.

The results of the research, which measured the function of the brain’s frontal lobes by means of electroencephalography (EEG), indicate that during the observation of a direct gaze the left frontal lobe of the test subjects was more active than the right frontal lobe. During the observation of an averted gaze the situation was opposite. The left-dominated activation asymmetry is linked to an approach and the right-dominated to avoidance. This was the first time it was shown through physiological measurements that another person’s gaze direction affects brain systems that are involved in the regulation of fundamental human motivational reactions.

New methods to diagnose autism and mental disorders

The results of the project shed useful light on emotional reactions related to the perception of human faces and how these reactions develop. “The deviations related to eye contact in people with autism are one of the earliest and most typical problems, and our studies make it possible to find out why people with autistic behaviour avoid eye contact,” Hietanen said.

As atypical emotional reactions to various social stimuli, for instance other people’s facial expressions, most likely play a key role in different types of mental disorders, the knowledge generated by the research project also provides an opportunity to develop efficient methods for the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Academy of Finland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Academy of Finland. "Direct Gaze Enhances Face Perception." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095722.htm>.
Academy of Finland. (2008, August 15). Direct Gaze Enhances Face Perception. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095722.htm
Academy of Finland. "Direct Gaze Enhances Face Perception." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080813095722.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins