Effects of head gaze and body position on attention in real-world scenes.

Poster Presentation: Sunday, May 19, 2024, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, Pavilion
Session: Attention: Spatial selection 1

Carmela Gottesman1 (); 1University of South Carolina Salkehathie

Orientation of people in scenes has been shown to affect viewers’ attention distribution. Multiple studies show that gaze can cue attention, but other human features have also shown this effect. In previous studies we found that body orientation to the left of the right was sufficient to facilitate a search task in that direction, and gaze didn’t have an added effect unless the search target was in the line of sight. In this study, we examined if the gaze has an added effect, if head position and gaze are moved toward the viewer, or to the side the body is oriented towards. Each trial showed a sequence of three images, all of the same person in the same scene. The body was oriented to the left or right of the scene, the same in the three pictures. In half the trials the head\gaze in the first picture was oriented toward the viewer and in half it was oriented to the same side their body was oriented towards. The second picture on each trials showed the opposite head orientation, resulting in apparent motion either towards or away from the viewer. After a brief mask, the second picture was repeated with a small cross superimposed either in the part of the scene towards which the body was oriented or in the opposite part. Viewers had to indicate if the cross was to the right or to the left of the person as quickly as possible. We found that viewers were slower to find the target when the person appeared to turn their gaze towards them, rather than away from them. There was an interaction of gaze with orientation direction so the left-right orientation didn’t have an effect when the gaze turned towards the viewer but only if the gaze turned away.