Where You Look Matters for Body Perception: Preferred Gaze Location Contributes to the Body Inversion Effect

Joseph M. Arizpe, Danielle L. McKean, Jack W. Tsao, Annie W.-Y. Chan, Markus Lappe
2017 PLoS ONE  
The Body Inversion Effect (BIE; reduced visual discrimination performance for inverted compared to upright bodies) suggests that bodies are visually processed configurally; however, the specific importance of head posture information in the BIE has been indicated in reports of BIE reduction for whole bodies with fixed head position and for headless bodies. Through measurement of gaze patterns and investigation of the causal relation of fixation location to visual body discrimination
more » ... the present study reveals joint contributions of feature and configuration processing to visual body discrimination. Participants predominantly gazed at the (body-centric) upper body for upright bodies and the lower body for inverted bodies in the context of an experimental paradigm directly comparable to that of prior studies of the BIE. Subsequent manipulation of fixation location indicates that these preferential gaze locations causally contributed to the BIE for whole bodies largely due to the informative nature of gazing at or near the head. Also, a BIE was detected for both whole and headless bodies even when fixation location on the body was held constant, indicating a role of configural processing in body discrimination, though inclusion of the head posture information was still highly discriminative in the context of such processing. Interestingly, the impact of configuration (upright and inverted) to the BIE appears greater than that of differential preferred gaze locations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169148 pmid:28085894 pmcid:PMC5234795 fatcat:52utx665ynhivbjckuoogfzkhi