BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Eye contact facilitates awareness of faces during interocular suppression

Stein, T. and Senju, Atsushi and Peelen, M.V. and Sterzer, P. (2011) Eye contact facilitates awareness of faces during interocular suppression. Cognition 119 (2), pp. 307-311. ISSN 0010-0277.

3080.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (742kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Eye contact captures attention and receives prioritized visual processing. Here we asked whether eye contact might be processed outside conscious awareness. Faces with direct and averted gaze were rendered invisible using interocular suppression. In two experiments we found that faces with direct gaze overcame such suppression more rapidly than faces with averted gaze. Control experiments ruled out the influence of low-level stimulus differences and differential response criteria. These results indicate an enhanced unconscious representation of direct gaze, enabling the automatic and rapid detection of other individuals making eye contact with the observer.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cognition, 119(2), May 2011, DOI:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.01.008”
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Eye contact, gaze processing, binocular rivalry, interocular suppression, unconscious processing
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2011 11:34
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item