Graduation Date

Summer 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Amanda Hahn

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Kauyumari Sanchez

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Christopher Aberson

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Humans demonstrate a perceptual specialization for faces that is astonishing. This project attempts determine if and where within the perceptual process face perception and face recognition diverge at the level of eye movement behaviors. Participants were exposed to a series of 36 faces, of which six were randomly selected to be learned over five subsequent exposures; thus the same face identities served as both the novel faces (block 1) and the learned faces (block 5), allowing for the measurement of eye gaze patterns during initial face perception (novel) and face recognition (learned). These six faces were randomly assigned to different orders within five presentation blocks along with 30 interspersed novel distractor faces (six novel faces per block). Eye movement patterns were recorded using the Gazepoint eye tracker and measured in the form of fixation duration and number of fixations for a set of regions of interest (ROIs). A linear mixed effects model was run for both fixation duration and number of fixations accounting for the potential effects and interaction of ROI and familiarity (i.e., face perception vs face recognition). It was determined that participants spent more time and looked the most often at the eyes of the faces they viewed (more so than any other ROI) regardless of their level of familiarity with the face. This suggests that while novel and familiar faces may be processed in overlapping but distinct manners, the way people visually scan a face may not differ for the processes of face perception and face recognition.

Citation Style