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Mem Cognit. 2005 Jan;33(1):98-106.

Eye movements are functional during face learning.

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  • 1Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-1116, USA.


In a free viewing learning condition, participants were allowed to move their eyes naturally as they learned a set of new faces. In a restricted viewing learning condition, participants remained fixated in a single central location as they learned the new faces. Recognition of the learned faces was then tested following the two learning conditions. Eye movements were recorded during the free viewing learning condition, as well as during recognition. The recognition results showed a clear deficit following the restricted viewing condition, compared with the free viewing condition, demonstrating that eye movements play a functional role during human face learning. Furthermore, the features selected for fixation during recognition were similar following free viewing and restricted viewing learning, suggesting that the eye movements generated during recognition are not simply a recapitulation of those produced during learning.

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