Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

The Revealing Glance: Eye Gaze Behavior to Concealed Information

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

The Revealing Glance: Eye Gaze Behavior to Concealed Information

Article excerpt

Abstract We explored the usefulness of eye fixation durations as a dependent measure in a concealed knowledge test, drawing on Ryan, Hannula, and Cohen (2007), who found eye fixations on a familiar face to be longer than fixations on an unknown face. However, in their study, participants always had to select the known face out of three faces; thus, recognition and response intention could not be differentiated. In the experimental phase of our experiment, participants saw six faces per trial and had to select one of them. We had three conditions: In the first, one of the six faces was a known face, and the participants had to conceal that knowledge and select another face (concealed display); in another, one of the six faces was a known face, and the participants had to select that face (revealed display); or finally, all six faces were unknown, and participants had to select any of the six faces (neutral display). Using fixation durations as the dependent measure, we found a pure and early recognition effect; that is, fixations on the concealed faces (known but not selected) were longer than fixations on the nonselected unknown target faces in the neutral display. In addition, we found a response intention effect; that is, fixation durations on the selected known faces were longer than those on concealed faces (known but not selected).

Keywords Eye movements . Concealed information test . Guilty knowledge test . Fixation duration . Familiarity . Recollection

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

In recent years, several studies have explored the relationship between recognition of faces and gaze fixations (e.g., Althoff& Cohen, 1999; Hannula et al., 2010; Ryan, Hannula, & Cohen, 2007; Stacey, Walker, & Underwood, 2005). The leading question has been whether prior experience with a face determines subsequent eye movement behavior.

Most importantly for the present research, Ryan et al. (2007) conducted an eye-tracking study in which participants saw three-face displays, with either all of the faces being unknown to participants or one of the faces being a known face. The participants' task was to select the known face in a display. Thus, in the latter condition participants had to select the known face, whereas in the former condition they had to select any one of the three unknown faces. The important result for the present study was the finding of a recognition effect; that is, the known selected faces were fixated for a longer duration than were the unknown selected faces. This effect was even found for the duration of first fixations, indicating fast recognition.

With this finding, Ryan et al. (2007) made an important contribution to the field of indirect memory diagnostics, as their findings suggested that fixation duration (everything else being equal) reveals recognition-that is, a hint as to whether or not someone already knows a certain face. Seen from this perspective, it is interesting to compare the paradigm of Ryan et al. to the best-known paradigm of indirect memory diagnostics-that is, the concealed information test (CIT; e.g., Farwell & Donchin, 1991; Langleben et al., 2002; Lykken, 1959, 1960, 1974, 1998; Seymour, Seifert, Shafto, & Mosmann, 2000; Verschuere, Crombez, Degrootte, & Rosseel, 2010; see also the recent volume edited by Verschuere, Ben-Shakhar, & Meijer, 2011), also referred to as the guilty knowledge test. In the "classical" CIT, participants are confronted with multiple-choice questions concerning crime-related details, each containing one correct answer and several foils. For example, "Was the getaway car a (1) red Ford, (2) yellow Toyota, (3) pink Honda, (4) gray Chevy, or (5) white Plymouth?" (Farwell & Donchin, 1991). The participant is instructed to respond "No" to each answer while physiological measures (e.g., heart rate, skin conductivity) are registered (see e.g., Ben-Shakhar & Dolev, 1996; Bradley, MacLaren, & Carle, 1996; for a review, see MacLaren, 2001). …

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