ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (9): 1508-1513.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.01508

• Research Reports • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Attentional Bias to Untrustworthy Faces: Evidence From Eye Tracking Data

WANG Qiandong1,2; LI Qinggong1; CHEN Kaikai1; FU Genyue1,3   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China) (2 Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China) (3 Department of Psychology, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 311121, China)
  • Received:2015-02-28 Online:2015-09-15 Published:2015-09-15
  • Contact: LI Qinggong, E-mail:


Individuals’ attention and memory biases to untrustworthy faces, and the relationship between them were explored in this study. In encoding phase, one trustworthy face and one untrustworthy face were presented simultaneously to undergraduate participants, while their gaze behavior (i.e., fixation duration, number of fixations) during face viewing was assessed. After the encoding phase, the participants underwent a test of recognizing the previously presented faces. The test was not expected by the participants. The results showed that: (1) in the encoding phase, the participants were more likely to direct their initial fixation toward untrustworthy faces than trustworthy faces, and spend more fixations on untrustworthy faces than trustworthy faces; (2) in the recognition task, the participants were more accurate in recognizing untrustworthy faces than trustworthy faces; (3) regression analyses indicated that initial fixation preference to untrustworthy faces had a significant effect on advantage in recognizing untrustworthy faces. Our results indicated that people show attentional vigilance and attentional maintenance towards untrustworthy faces compared with trustworthy faces, and attentional vigilance to untrustworthy faces may account for enhanced recall of untrustworthy faces.

Key words: trustworthiness, attentional bias, eye movement, memory