Garner interference reveals dependencies between emotional expression and gaze in face perception.
The relationship between facial expression and gaze processing was investigated with the Garner selective attention paradigm. In Experiment 1, participants performed expression judgments without interference from gaze, but expression interfered with gaze judgments. Experiment 2 replicated these results across different emotions. In both experiments, expression judgments occurred faster than gaze judgments, suggesting that expression was processed before gaze could interfere. In Experiments 3 and 4, the difficulty of the emotion discrimination was increased in two different ways. In both cases, gaze interfered with emotion judgments and vice versa. Furthermore, increasing the difficulty of the emotion discrimination resulted in gaze and expression interactions. Results indicate that expression and gaze interactions are modulated by discriminability. Whereas expression generally interferes with gaze judgments, gaze direction modulates expression processing only when facial emotion is difficult to discriminate.
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