Publications of Tomalski, P.

Rapid orienting toward face-like stimuli with gaze-relevant contrast information

Human faces under natural illumination, and human eyes in their unique morphology, include specific contrast polarity relations that face-detection mechanisms could capitalise on. Newborns have been shown to preferentially orient to simple face-like patterns only when they contain face- or gaze-relevant contrast. We investigated whether human adults show similar preferential orienting towards schematic face-like stimuli, and whether this effect depends on the contrast polarity of the stimuli. In two experiments we demonstrate that upright schematic face-like patterns elicit faster eye movements in adult humans than inverted ones, and that this Occurs only if they contain face- or gaze-relevant contrast information in the whole stimulus or in the eye region only. These results suggest that primitive mechanisms underlying the orienting bias towards faces and eyes influence and modulate social cognition not just in infants but in adults as well.

Temporal-nasal asymmetry of rapid orienting to face-like stimuli

Recent work suggests that a subcortical visual route may mediate rapid orienting towards facial configuration in the visual periphery and not only to visual threat in faces. We demonstrate that the orienting bias towards faces shows a temporal-nasal visual field asymmetry of responses, suggesting its extrageniculate mediation. Upright schematic face-like pattern elicited faster behavioural responses than inverted one in the temporal but not in the nasal hemifield of each eye, and this effect occurred for saccades but not for manual responses. The presence of a similar asymmetry of the orienting bias in newborns supports the role of extrageniculate pathways in face detection in both neonates and adults.