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The influence of top‐down modulation on the processing of direct gaze

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Gaze or eye contact is one of the most important nonverbal social cues, which is fundamental to human social interactions. To achieve real time and dynamic face‐to‐face communication, our brain needs to process another person's gaze direction rapidly and without explicit instruction. In order to explain the fast and spontaneous processing of direct gaze, the fast‐track modulator model was proposed. Here, we review recent developments in gaze processing research in the last decade to extend the fast‐track modulator model. In particular, we propose that task demand or top‐down modulation could play a more crucial role at gaze processing than formerly assumed. We suggest that under different task demands, top‐down modulation can facilitate or interfere with the direct gaze effects for early visual processing. The proposed modification of the model extends the role of task demand and its implication on the direct gaze effect, as well as the need to better control for top‐down processing in order to better disentangle the role of top‐down and bottom‐up processing on the direct gaze effect. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Psychology > Perception and Psychophysics Neuroscience > Cognition
Schematic depiction of the fast‐track modulator model (Senju & Johnson, )
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Modification of the fast‐track modulator model (Senju & Johnson, ). We included an arrow from the task‐relevant modulation and slow information processing
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

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Neuroscience > Cognition
Psychology > Perception and Psychophysics
Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition

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