Children and adults were tested on a forced-choice face recognition task in which the direction of eye gaze was manipulated over the course of the initial presentation and subsequent test phase of the experiment. To establish the effects of gaze direction on the encoding process, participants were presented with to-be-studied faces displaying either director deviated gaze (i.e. encoding manipulation). At test, all the faces depicted persons with their eyes closed. To investigate the effects of gaze direction on the efficiency of the retrieval process, a second condition (i.e. retrieval manipulation) was run in which target faces were presented initially with eyes closed and tested with either direct or deviated gaze. The results revealed the encoding advantages enjoyed by faces with direct gaze was present for both children and adults. Faces with direct gaze were also recognized better than faces with deviated gaze at retrieval, although this effect was most pronounced for adults. Finally, the advantage for direct gaze over deviated gaze at encoding was greater than the advantage for direct gaze over deviated gaze at retrieval. We consider the theoretical implications of these findings.
- HUMAN AMYGDALA