The Gaze Experiment: A Study Of Gazing Habits And Biases With Respect To Different Facial Features

2257 words - 10 pages

The Gaze Experiment: A study of gazing habits and biases with respect to different facial features.
AbstractCan we tell which part of our face a person is gazing at when they are gazing at us? The experiment in question gives us an idea to where and why we think a person is looking at that location. There were 27 students split into pairs. Within the pair there was an experimenter and a participant. The experimenter would look at different parts of the participant's face and ask the participant to tell them where they were looking at. Our results showed us that the participants were most accurate at recognising when the eyes, hair, right and left ears were being looked at with correct ...view middle of the document...

They tested this by looking at the eyes of the participant and just outside their face and asking them to determine whether they were being stared in the eyes. They had another independent variable that we do not use in our experiment, the experimenter would stare at seven points on a horizontal line 10cm apart with the centre point being on the nose of the participant. They found that the participant could correctly distinguish whether their eye were being stared at 84% of the time. However when the experimenter wasn’t facing the participant head on, they found their success rate drop. The experiment showed that both head direction and pupil direction are important in determining where a person is gazing.
After Gibson & Pick, Von Cranach & Ellgring (1973) also performed a similar experiment to ours. They increased the number of variables that would affect a person's judgement about where they were being stared at, eg. head direction, gaze duration, number of points on the face. The testing of different points on the face is similar to our experiment. They found that the participants made the most errors perceiving that their eyes were being looked at when they were not. This is understandable as the eyes are where we would assume people who look at us are looking at. It daily human interaction, when peoples' gazes are fixed upon our faces we assume they are looking at our eyes.
As a result of Von Cranach & Ellgring's experiment we can predict that we would find that the eyes will have the highest number of incorrect responses, representing the fact that people assume they are being looked at in the eye because it is a social norm. From the combination of the two above experiments we can also predict that facial extremities like the chin, ears and hair will have higher correct responses as opposed to the nose and mouth. Gibson & Pick showed that when looking slightly outside the face, past the ears or hair or chin, we can tell that the experimenter is not looking at our eyes. And with Von Cranach & Ellgring's experiment we can assume that points within the face (nose and mouth) will be harder to for the participant to recognise.
There were 27 participants, five male and 22 female aged between 18-20 years old. The participants were drawn from students studying Introduction to Psychological Research at Durham University. Seven of the participants wear glasses, four wear contacts lenses and the remainder have uncorrected vision.
Each experimenter was given a gaze record sheet. The experimenter would had to note the gender and any visual aids the participant may have had. The gaze record sheet had a grid with T (target) and R (response) heading the columns. The rows would have different targets the experimenter had to look at and were filled by letters, each letter donated different target: E= eyes, N= nose, M= mouth, C=chin, H=hair, RE=right ear, LE=left ear. The response column would then be...

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