ABSTRACT: In English word recognition, the best recognition performance is usually obtained when the initial fixation is directed to the left of the center (optimal viewing position, OVP). This effect has been argued to involve an interplay of left hemisphere lateralization for language processing and the perceptual experience of fixating at word beginnings most often. While both factors predict a left-biased OVP in visual word recognition, in face recognition they predict contrasting biases: People prefer to fixate the left half-face, suggesting that the OVP should be to the left of the center; nevertheless, the right hemisphere lateralization in face processing suggests that the OVP should be to the right of the center in order to project most of the face to the right hemisphere. Here, we show that the OVP in face recognition was to the left of the center, suggesting greater influence from the perceptual experience than hemispheric asymmetry in central vision. In contrast, hemispheric lateralization effects emerged when faces were presented away from the center; there was an interaction between presented visual field and location (center vs. periphery), suggesting differential influence from perceptual experience and hemispheric asymmetry in central and peripheral vision.
Journal of Vision 01/2012; 12(2). · 3.38 Impact Factor