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While viewing faces, human adults often demonstrate a natural gaze bias towards the left visual field, that is, the right side of the viewee's face is often inspected first and for longer periods. Using a preferential looking paradigm, we demonstrate that this bias is neither uniquely human nor limited to primates, and provide evidence to help elucidate its biological function within a broader social cognitive framework. We observed that 6-month-old infants showed a wider tendency for left gaze preference towards objects and faces of different species and orientation, while in adults the bias appears only towards upright human faces. Rhesus monkeys showed a left gaze bias towards upright human and monkey faces, but not towards inverted faces. Domestic dogs, however, only demonstrated a left gaze bias towards human faces, but not towards monkey or dog faces, nor to inanimate object images. Our findings suggest that face- and species-sensitive gaze asymmetry is more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously recognised, is not constrained by attentional or scanning bias, and could be shaped by experience to develop adaptive behavioural significance.
Left gaze bias in humans, rhesus monkeys and domestic dogs 1
Kun GuoP
P, Kerstin MeintsP
P, Charlotte HallP
P, Sophie HallP
P, Daniel MillsP
PDepartment of Psychology. P
PDepartment of Biological Sciences, 4
University of Lincoln, UK 5
Corresponding author: 10
Prof. Daniel Mills 11
Department of Biological Sciences 12
University of Lincoln 13
Lincoln LN2 2LG, UK, 14
e-mail: 15
Tel: +44-1522-895356 16
Fax: +44-1522-886026 17
Abstract 1
While viewing faces, human adults often demonstrate a natural gaze bias towards 2
the left visual field, that is, the right side of the viewee’s face is often inspected first and for 3
longer periods. Using a preferential looking paradigm, we demonstrate that this bias is 4
neither uniquely human nor limited to primates, and provide evidence to help elucidate its 5
biological function within a broader social cognitive framework. We observed that 6-6
month-old infants showed a wider tendency for left gaze preference towards objects and 7
faces of different species and orientation, while in adults the bias appears only towards 8
upright human faces. Rhesus monkeys showed a left gaze bias towards upright human and 9
monkey faces, but not towards inverted faces. Domestic dogs, however, only demonstrated 10
a left gaze bias towards human faces, but not towards monkey or dog faces, nor to 11
inanimate object images. Our findings suggest that face- and species-sensitive gaze 12
asymmetry is more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously recognised, is not 13
constrained by attentional or scanning bias, and could be shaped by experience to develop 14
adaptive behavioural significance. 15
Keywords: gaze asymmetry, face perception, lateralisation, development, phylogeny, 17
infants, monkeys, dogs 18
Introduction 20
Facial communication plays a crucial role in the social cognition of humans and 21
several species of non-human animals. Although faces are more or less symmetrical, 22
human face perception (i.e. judgement of gender, age, expression, likeness and 23
attractiveness) mostly relies on facial information contained in the right side of the owners’ 24
face (left side of the viewed face from viewer’s perspective) (e.g. Gilbert and Bakan 1973; 25
Grega et al 1988; Burt and Perrett 1997). For instance, when asked to judge the facial 1
expression of a briefly presented chimeric face image, in which the left and right side of the 2
viewed face differ on facial expression, human viewers tend to base their decision more 3
frequently on the expression contained within the right side of the owner’s face, i.e. the left 4
hemiface for the viewer. This left perceptual bias in face perception is often accompanied 5
and enhanced by a left gaze bias (LGB), defined by the higher probability of first gaze and 6
a higher proportion of viewing time directed at the left hemiface, when actively exploring 7
face images (Mertens et al. 1993; Philips and David 1997; Butler et al. 2005; Bulter and 8
Harvey 2006). In other words, the left hemiface is often inspected first and/or for longer 9
periods. 10
Although human visuospatial attention bias is to the left visual field (Rhodes 1986; 11
Vaid and Singh 1989; Nicholls and Roberts 2002; Niemeier et al. 2007) and in some 12
cultures, a long practised left-to-right directional scanning bias (most notably, reading) 13
(Gilbert and Bakan 1973; Vaid and Singh 1989; Heath et al. 2005) may contribute to this 14
gaze asymmetry, it is often argued that a right hemisphere advantage in face processing 15
(receiving visual input from left visual field) is the likely cause of LGB (Burt and Perrett 16
1997; Butler et al. 2005; Leonards and Scott-Samuel 2005). As a consequence, if a face is 17
initially presented within a viewer’s central visual field, the left hemiface is projected to the 18
face-sensitive right hemisphere, where its saliency is more readily evaluated, causing an 19
increase in the viewer’s attention as necessary. A recent study of judging the gender of 20
chimeric faces showed that on trials where participants based their decision on the gender 21
cues contained in the left side of the chimeric face, they fixated more often and longer on 22
the left hemiface (Bulter et al. 2005), further suggesting that LGB is closely associated with 23
the perceptual processing of facial information, and could be part of eye scanning patterns 24
associated with face exploration. 25
However, it remains unclear how this face-related LGB develops in human and 1
whether it is restricted to human or could evolve (homologously or analogously) in other 2
species living in complex social environments. To address these questions, we 3
systematically investigated gaze asymmetries in two comparative studies investigating gaze 4
direction in human infants and adults and also in rhesus monkeys and domestic dogs while 5
exploring various images of faces and objects. 6
Experiment 1: LGB in human infants and adults: developmental study 8
It has been suggested that human face processing involves a face-specific cognitive 9
and neural mechanism (McKone et al. 2006; see also Tarr and Cheng 2003) which is 10
species- and orientation-sensitive. Specifically, human adults differentiate faces of their 11
own species (or even own race) better than faces of other species (or other races). However, 12
this superior recognition performance deteriorates once the face is turned up-side down, 13
and such a face inversion effect, one hallmark differentiating face processing from object 14
processing, is more evident for own species, i.e. stronger for human than monkey faces 15
(Diamond and Carey 1986; Tanaka et al. 2004; Bukach et al. 2006; McKone et al. 2006; 16
Mondloch et al. 2006). It is likely that this sensitivity towards conspecific faces with 17
upright orientation is closely associated with or even shaped by our extensive experience of 18
identifying upright conspecific faces, probably through the process of perceptual narrowing 19
(Pascalis et al. 2001, 2002; Grossmann and Johnson 2007). For instance, 6-month-old 20
human infants perform equally well at discriminating individual human or monkey faces, 21
but 9-month-olds start to show better performance for recognizing human faces (Pascalis et 22
al. 2002). 23
If the LGB is closely associated with the processing of facial information, it could 24
also be expected to show not only sensitivity to the orientation and species of the viewed 25
face, but also differences during development. We examined these questions systematically 1
in this study by comparing gaze asymmetries in human infants and adults while free 2
viewing various face and object images with normal and inverted orientation. As face 3
inversion alters global facial configuration but does not change image symmetry along 4
vertical axis nor the local image properties of individual facial features (i.e. local contrast), 5
inverted faces not only serve as ideal control images for upright faces, but also contribute 6
to efforts to address the neural mechanisms underling LGB if different patterns of gaze 7
asymmetries are elicited in response to upright and inverted faces. 8
Method 10
Nineteen 6-month-old infants (11 boys and 8 girls, 4.9 – 7.7 months old with mean 11
of 6.22 ± 0.22 (mean ± SEM)) and 19 adults (11 males and 8 females, 19-39 years old with 12
mean of 20.84 ± 1.13) participated in the study. All children were born full-term and were 13
in good health. Ethical approval had been granted and all procedures complied with British 14
Psychological Society Ethical guidance. 15
Visual stimuli included 20 face images with neutral facial expression (5 upright and 16
5 inverted human faces, 5 upright and 5 inverted monkey faces) and 10 symmetrical 17
inanimate object images (see image examples in Fig. 1). The common object images were 18
sampled from our daily environment, and could be categorically familiar to the infants as 19
indicated by the parents. The gray scale digitized images were gamma-corrected and back-20
projected once at eye-level on the center of a projection screen with a resolution of 21
600×600 pixels. No two images of the same category were presented consecutively. At a 22
viewing distance of 70cm the image subtended a visual angle of 72×72°. 23
The intermodal preferential looking paradigm (Meints et al. 1999) was employed to 24
measure gaze preference. During the experiments the infants were seated on their parent’s 25
lap in a quiet, dim-lit test room, and binocularly viewed the display. The parents were 1
asked to close their eyes during the experiment and to listen to instructions played over 2
headphones which reminded them to sit quietly and to keep the infant seated in a central 3
position. The trial was started with a flashing red fixation point (FP, 8° in diameter) 4
presented on the centre of the screen. The infant’s head and eye positions were on-line 5
monitored by the researcher through CCTV. Once the infant’s gaze was oriented towards 6
the FP, a single image was presented for 5 seconds. The onset of the image presentation 7
was accompanied by a female auditory instruction “look” delivered through a loudspeaker 8
positioned centrally above the displayed images. 9
During the experiment, the researcher was not visible. The overall order of all trials 10
shown to a given infant was pseudo-randomised. Inter-trial intervals varied with the 11
infant’s attention on the task with a minimum duration of 0.5 second. A new trial was not 12
launched until infants had centred their gaze either spontaneously or when attracted by the 13
flashing FP. All of the tested infants successfully completed all the trials (30 in total). The 14
same procedure, but without a parent, was employed for the testing of human adults. 15
The participant’s eye position and head movements were recorded by two miniature 16
cameras, and then digitized with a sampling frequency of 60 Hz. The data image was replayed 17
off-line frame by frame for accurate analysis by two researchers independently. The direction 18
of participant’s gaze was classified as ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘central’ looking accordingly. The 19
researchers were blind to the test images for each trial when performing off-line data analysis, 20
and inter-judge reliability measures between two researchers yielded correlations of 0.96 for 21
infants’ data, and 0.95 for adults’ data. 22
. 23
Results 24
To address when and how the LGB develops in humans, we compared the gaze 1
preferences of 19 6-month-old human infants and 19 adults while free viewing human and 2
monkey faces (both upright and inverted) and symmetric familiar object images. The 3
images of different categories appeared to attract about the same amount of viewing time 4
within the group of infants (Table 1). On average, human infants spent 64-69% (ANOVA, 5
FB(4,94)B=0.46, P=0.76) of the 5-second image presentation time viewing different classes of 6
face and object images. By contrast human adults spent 96-98% (ANOVA, FB(4,94)B=0.68, 7
P=0.60) of the time viewing the different images classes. 8
We then examined whether the left hemi-image attracted a higher probability of 9
first gaze direction after image presentation, and a higher proportion of viewing time 10
during image presentation. Paired one-tailed t-tests were used for each image category after 11
an ANOVA test to determine a significant general main effect of left-right bias across all 12
image categories. We also calculated Prep and effect sizes (d) to estimate the probability of 13
replicating the effect (TKilleenTT TT2005T). Human infants showed a consistent general LGB 14
while exploring the images (ANOVA, first gaze direction: FB(1,189)B=27.15, P=5.11E-7, Fig. 15
1A; viewing time: FB(1,189)B=35.38, P=1.38E-8, Fig.1B). Specifically, the left side of upright 16
human and monkey faces were inspected first (>63% of probability, t(18)=1.96 and 2.68, 17
p=0.03 and 0.007, Prep=0.9 and 0.99, d=0.83 and 1.05) and longer (>59% of image 18
viewing time, t(18)=1.74 and 2.89, p=0.05 and 0.005, Prep=0.94 and 0.99, d=0.79 and 19
1.33) as were the left sides of object images (first gaze direction: t(18)=1.97, p=0.03, 20
Prep=0.96, d=0.91; viewing time: t(18)=1.75, p=0.048, Prep=0.95, d=0.81), suggesting a 21
non-face-specific gaze asymmetry. Furthermore, the left side of inverted monkey faces also 22
attracted longer viewing time (t(18)=2.51, p=0.01, Prep=0.94; d=0.96), suggesting that the 23
gaze asymmetry in 6-month-olds is not sensitive to face orientation in species other than 24
their own. 25
Human adults also demonstrated general main effect of LGB for image exploration 1
(ANOVA, first gaze direction: FB(1,189)B=88.04, P=2.8E-17, Fig. 1C; viewing time: 2
FB(1,189)B=11.82, P=7.27E-4, Fig.1D). However, when taking individual image category into 3
account, a more restricted pattern of LGB was revealed: the adults showed a clear LGB 4
only towards faces, not objects. Although the left sides of both upright and inverted human 5
or monkey faces were inspected first (t(18)=2.35–5.71, p=0.00001–0.02, Prep=0.94–0.99), 6
only the left side of human upright faces was inspected for a longer period (t(18)=2.28, 7
p=0.02, Prep=0.93; d=0.93), suggesting that in adults, the LGB is face-specific and also 8
sensitive to face orientation and species. Overall, infant results displayed a larger data 9
variance than the adult population. This is not uncommon in infant studies and 10
demonstrates the variability in development and lack of refinement of the process in this 11
population compared to an identically sized adult population. 12
Discussion 14
Our differing observations in human infants and adults suggest that the specific 15
LGB towards faces is an acquired behaviour, possibly through the process of “perceptual 16
narrowing”. It has been proposed that the development of face perception is a modality-17
specific and experience-dependent process of gradual specialisation (de Haan et al. 2002; 18
Grossmann and Johnson 2007). For instance, 6-month-old infants are equally good at 19
recognising individual monkey and human faces, but 9-month-olds show a marked 20
advantage in recognizing human faces (Pascalis et al. 2002), indicating a narrowing or 21
specialising of perceptual ability in face perception. Similarly, young infants show a 22
general, inherent LGB for all visual images, which later transforms itself into a more 23
specific LGB for human faces only. Studies of perceptual asymmetries in face processing 24
have previously shown that by the age of 5 years, children demonstrate a face-specific left 25
perceptual bias (Failla et al. 2003) and that its magnitude increases from 6 to 10-years of 1
age (Chiang et al. 2000). 2
The different patterns of gaze asymmetry when viewing different image categories 3
in human adults also shed some light onto possible neural mechanism underling this LGB 4
phenomenon. The LGB was most evident for upright faces, less evident for inverted faces 5
and totally absent for object images, suggesting that the visuospatial attention bias towards 6
the left visual field (Rhodes 1986; Nicholls and Roberts 2002; Niemeier et al. 2007) and 7
our extensively-practised left-to-right directional scanning bias (Gilbert and Bakan 1973; 8
Vaid and Singh 1989; Heath et al. 2005) cannot fully account for the observed face-specific 9
LGB. The well documented human right-hemispheric advantage for face processing, on the 10
other hand, offers a consistent explanation. Various brain imaging studies have revealed a 11
strong right-hemispheric bias in processing upright faces, delayed and reduced right-12
hemisphere response in processing inverted faces, and bilateral responses in processing 13
object images (e.g. Rossion et al. 2003; Yovel and Kanwisher 2005; Bukach et al. 2006; 14
Grossmann and Johnson 2007). Our observed systematic change of LGB pattern towards 15
different image categories seems to be consistent with reported changes of the distribution 16
of cortical responses, providing further support for cortical lateralisation in human face 17
processing. 18
The ability to detect/recognize facial cues (i.e. facial expression, gaze direction) and 19
to respond accordingly also plays a crucial role in social communication of non-human 20
primates and other social species (e.g. Emery 2000; Parr et al. 2000; Hare and Tomasello 21
2005), but the broader biological context of this phenomenon has been largely ignored until 22
now. It has been suggested that functional brain lateralisation in perception and cognition is 23
not a uniquely human attribute, but exists in other non-human social species which could 24
be shaped by the selection pressure of living in complex social environments and 25
performing intensive social communication during the evolution, at least at population 1
level (e.g. Vallortigara and Rogers 2005). As in humans, the dominant role of the right 2
hemisphere in social cognition as well as in individual recognition mediated by visual cues 3
has been observed in other social species such as fish (Sovrano et al. 1999), domestic 4
chicks (Vallortigara 1992; Vllortigara and Andrew 1991, 1994), quails (Zucca and Sovrano 5
2008), sheep (Kendrick 2006), monkeys (Hamilton and Vermeire 1988; Hauser 1993; 6
Vermeire and Hamilton 1998) and chimpanzees (Morris and Hopkins 1993). 7
We hypothesise that if the LGB is mediated by a right hemisphere bias in face 8
processing and if it is of broader adaptive value to social species, then it may also occur 9
among non-human species adapted to living in complex social environments. This 10
possibility is examined in our second study in which we investigated gaze asymmetries in 11
rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) while exploring 12
various face and object images. Macaques were chosen because of their relatively close 13
evolutionary relationship to humans, and their naturally complex social environment; 14
whereas dogs were chosen because they are more distantly related, but given their close 15
social association with humans and enculturation, they might also benefit from such a 16
capacity of LGB, if it is indeed associated with social cognition. 17
Experiment 2: LGB in rhesus monkeys and domestic dogs: phylogenetic study 19
To address the question of whether a face-specific LGB is restricted to human or to 20
primate species, or whether it is perhaps found more extensively among species living in 21
complex social environments, we examined the responses of rhesus monkeys (Macaca 22
mulatta) and domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). As rhesus monkeys rely heavily on facial 23
cues for social communication (Rosenfeld and van Hoesen 1979; Mendelson et al. 1982; 24
Parr et al. 2000) and possess a similar oculomotor strategy and cortical mechanism for face 25
perception as humans (Rossion and Gauthier 2002; Guo et al. 2003; Guo 2007), we 1
hypothesised that laboratory-raised monkeys might be good non-human candidates for the 2
demonstration of a LGB while viewing faces of conspecifics and humans. Domestic dogs, 3
on the other hand, have been domesticated for at least 10,000 years and possibly much 4
longer (Vilà et al. 1997). They have shown greater attachment (Topál et al. 2005) and 5
attention bias (Miklósi et al. 2003; Virányi et al. 2008) towards people compared to their 6
close relative, the wolf. Their sensitivity to human cues exceeds that of non-human 7
primates in certain tasks such as following human gaze directional cues, and it is 8
hypothesised that they may have evolved a special predisposition for communicating with 9
humans (Hare et al. 2002; Miklósi et al. 2003; Hare and Tomasello 2005). Pet dogs are 10
additionally encultured into the human environment and so such biases may be further 11
adapted in this subpopulation. Consequently, pet dogs were chosen as a non-primate social 12
species that might benefit from any adaptive advantage associated with a LGB towards 13
human faces and possibly other dog faces, but not necessarily towards faces from other 14
species or objects. 15
Method 17
Recording from rhesus monkeys 18
Three male adult rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta, 4.5-6.0 kg) were tested in this 19
study at the Department of Psychology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Initially, the 20
monkeys were trained to fixate on a FP on a computer screen for several seconds in a 21
dimming fixation detection task (Guo and Benson 1998). For the purpose of eye movement 22
recordings, a scleral eye coil and head restraint were then implanted under aseptic 23
conditions. Throughout the period of the recordings, the animal’s weight and general health 24
were monitored daily. Ethical approval had been granted and all procedures complied with 25
the “Principles of laboratory animal care” (NIH publication no. 86-23, revised 1985) and 1
UK Home Office regulations. 2
Visual stimuli were generated using a VSG 2/3W graphics system (Cambridge 3
Research Systems) and displayed on a high frequency non-interlaced gamma-corrected 4
color monitor (110 Hz, Sony GDM-F500T9) with the resolution of 1024×768 pixels. At a 5
viewing distance of 57 cm the monitor subtended a visual angle of 40×30°. The mean 6
luminance of uniform grey background was kept at 6.0 cd/mP
P. 7
Twenty monkey and 20 human face images with neutral facial expressions were 8
used as stimuli (see image examples in Fig. 2). The gray scale digitized images were 9
gamma-corrected and displayed once in a random order at the center of the screen with a 10
resolution of 512×512 pixels (20×20° visual angle). 11
During the experiments the monkeys were seated in a purpose-built primate chair 12
with their head restrained, and they viewed the display binocularly. To calibrate eye 13
movement signals, a small red FP (0.2° diameter, 7.8 cd/mP
Pluminance) was displayed 14
randomly at one of twenty-five positions (5×5 matrix) across the monitor. The distance 15
between adjacent FP positions was 5°. The monkey was trained to follow the FP and 16
maintain fixation for 1 second. After the calibration procedure, the trial was started with a 17
FP displayed on the center of monitor, and the monkey’s eye positions were on-line 18
monitored by the custom-made software. If the monkey maintained fixation for 1 second, 19
the FP disappeared and a single face image was presented for 10 seconds. During the 20
presentation, three monkeys passively viewed monkey face images, and two of them also 21
viewed human face images. No reinforcement was given during this procedure, neither 22
were the animals trained on any other task with these stimuli, which could have potentially 23
affected their behavior. It was considered that with their lack of training, and in the absence 24
of instrumental responding, their behavior should be as natural as possible. 25
Horizontal and vertical eye positions were measured using an 18-inch cubic scleral 1
search coil assembly with 6 min arc sensitivity (CNC Engineering). Eye movement signals 2
were amplified by a CNC system and sampled at 500 Hz through the analogue inputs of 3
CED1401 plus digital interface (Cambridge Electronic Design). The data were then 4
analysed off-line using software developed in Matlab. The software computed horizontal 5
and vertical eye displacement signals as a function of time to determine eye velocity and 6
position. Fixation locations were then extracted from the raw eye tracking data using 7
velocity (less than 0.2° eye displacement at a velocity of less than 20°/s) and duration 8
(greater than 50 ms) criteria (Guo et al. 2003, 2006). 9
Recording from pet dogs 10
Seventeen adult domestic pet dogs (Canis familiaris, 2-7 years old, 3 Labrador, 3 11
Border Collie, 3 Lurcher, 2 Jack Russell, 1 Border Terrier, 1 Leonberger, 1 Schnauzer, 1 12
Staffordshire Terrier, 1 Spanish Water Dog, 1 Golden Cocker Spaniel) were recruited from 13
university staff and students for this experiment. University ethical approval had been 14
granted and all procedures complied with ethical guidance of the International Society for 15
Applied Ethology. 16
Visual stimuli were generated using customized presentation software and back-17
projected on the center of a projection screen. At a viewing distance of 41 cm the screen 18
subtended a visual angle of 100×163°. 30 face images with neutral facial expressions and 19
10 symmetrical inanimate object images were used as stimuli (see image examples in Fig. 20
2). The face images included 5 upright and 5 inverted human faces, 5 upright and 5 21
inverted monkey faces, 5 upright and 5 inverted dog faces. The common object images 22
were sampled from the daily environment, and could be categorically familiar to the dogs 23
as indicated by the owners. The gray scale digitized images were gamma-corrected and 24
displayed once in a random order at the center of the screen with a resolution of 600×600 25
pixels (87×87° visual angle). No two images of the same category were presented 1
consecutively. To reduce degree of left-right image asymmetry commonly associated with 2
dog faces (i.e. facial color/hair pattern), we created left-mirror left composite chimeric 3
images for 8 dog faces and 8 object images used in this experiment. This manipulation is 4
widely adopted in studies of left perceptual bias and left gaze bias in face processing, and 5
has generated consistent observation similar as those generated by natural face images 6
across different laboratories, for human participants (e.g. Mertens et al. 1993; Butler et al. 7
2005; Leonards and Scott-Samuel 2005). 8
The preferential-looking procedure was adapted to test dog’s gaze preference 9
(Meints et al. 1999). During the experiment the dog was seated in a quiet, dim-lit test room 10
and binocularly viewed the display which was 41 cm away. A researcher stood behind the 11
dog and did not interfere with the dog or coerce it to watch the screen. The dog owner was 12
instructed to keep quiet and stay outside of the test room. A CCTV camera (SONY SSC-13
M388CE, resolution: 380 horizontal) placed in front of the dog was used to monitor and 14
record the dog’s eye and head movements. The trial was started with a flashing red FP (10° 15
in diameter) presented in the centre of the screen at the dog’s eye level. The dog’s head and 16
eye positions were on-line monitored by the researcher through CCTV. Once the dog’s 17
gaze was oriented towards the FP a single image was presented for 5 seconds. During the 18
presentation, the dog passively viewed face and object images. No reinforcement was given 19
during this procedure, neither were the dogs trained on any other task with these stimuli. A 20
short break was provided after every 10 trials if necessary. All of the dogs successfully 21
tested completed at least 65% of the trials (82 ± 2%). 22
The dog’s eye and head movements were recorded and then digitised with a sampling 23
frequency of 60 Hz. The image was replayed off-line frame by frame for accurate analysis by 24
two researchers independently, and the direction of the dog’s gaze was classified as ‘left’, 25
‘right’ and ‘central’ looking accordingly. The researchers were blind to the test images for each 1
trial when performing off-line data analysis, and inter-judge reliability measures yielded 2
correlations of 0.98 between two researchers. 3
Results 5
We very precisely recorded monkeys’ gaze patterns with implanted scleral search 6
coils, but the invasive nature of this recording methodology restricts the number of 7
monkeys that can be ethically used in such studies (e.g. Guo et al. 2003, 2006). Therefore 8
the analysis was carried out after pooling the data from three monkeys (i.e. t-test was 9
performed over the trials rather than subjects). As we did not intend to quantitatively 10
compare the magnitude of LGB across different species in this study, such an approach can 11
help to qualitatively establish whether the face-related LGB exists in non-human primates. 12
No statistical difference was observed in the cumulative viewing time across the 13
entire set of human and monkey faces with different orientations (Table 1). The monkeys 14
on average spent 44-52% of image presentation time viewing different categories of face 15
images (ANOVA, FB(3,132)B=1.52, P=0.21). ANOVA tests of main effect of left-right bias 16
across all images revealed a general LGB associated with face exploration (first gaze 17
direction: FB(1,261)B=8.47, P=0.004, Fig. 2A; viewing time: FB(1,261)B=12.51, P=1.0E-6, Fig.2B). 18
Specifically, the left side of upright monkey and human faces had a significantly higher 19
probability of being the first saccade destination (77% and 65% for monkey and human 20
faces; paired one-tailed t-test, t(59)=4.84 and 1.96, p=4.81E-6 and 0.03, Prep=0.99 and 21
0.91) than the right hemiface, and attracted more fixations (61% and 60% of total fixations 22
per image for monkey and human faces; t(59)=4.37and 4.01, p=2.52E-5 and 1.3E-4, 23
Prep=0.99 and 0.98). Once the faces were inverted, although image symmetry was constant 24
along the vertical axis, the left and right hemiface appeared to be equally salient 1
(t(17)=0.17-0.46, p=0.33-0.43). 2
The highly sensitive technique used in laboratory monkeys was not appropriate for 3
pet dogs and so the preferential looking paradigm was used to compare the gaze 4
preferences of 17 owner-volunteered dogs while viewing human, dog and monkey faces, 5
and symmetrical object images. On average, the dogs spent 43-47% of the 5-second image 6
presentation time inspecting different types of face and object images (Table1), and no 7
significant difference in viewing time was observed across these image categories 8
(ANOVA, FB(6,118)B=0.51, P=0.80). 9
Analysis of gaze preference showed a significant main effect of general LGB for 10
image viewing (first gaze direction: FB(1,237)B=20.59, P=9.28E-6; viewing time: FB(1,237)B=14.95, 11
P=1.45E-4). Paired one-tailed t-test further revealed that the left side of both upright and 12
inverted human faces had a higher probability of being the first inspected region by the 13
dogs (65% and 67% for upright and inverted human faces; t(16)=2.99 and 3.18, p=0.004 14
and 0.003, Prep=0.97 and 0.97; Fig. 2C). There was no significant difference in the 15
probability of first inspection between the two sides of dog faces, monkey faces and object 16
images (t(16)=0.27-1.12, p=0.14–0.40). An analysis of the averaged proportion of viewing 17
time towards each side of the images within a trial showed that only the left side of upright 18
human faces attracted significantly longer inspection (62% of total viewing time; 19
t(16)=2.67, p=0.008, Prep=0.95; Fig 2D). The dogs spent a similar amount of looking time 20
at both sides of the images while viewing inverted human faces, both upright and inverted 21
dog or monkey faces, and object images (t(16)=0.52-1.69, p=0.06-0.30). 22
Discussion 24
Our observations show that gaze asymmetry is not restricted to humans, and could 1
have broader adaptive significance. Laboratory-raised monkeys showed a LGB towards 2
faces of conspecifics and humans while pet dogs only demonstrated a LGB towards human 3
faces, but not monkey or dog faces, nor towards object images. We suggest that these 4
specific results are compatible with the animals’ normal communicative strategies given 5
monkeys’ reliance on social cues and dogs’ unique evolutionary and ontogenetic history. 6
All dogs in this study were well socialised to both people and other dogs. We therefore 7
argue that the bias towards human faces alone cannot be explained simply in terms of lack 8
of exposure to conspecifics, but that it may have a more fundamental phylogenetic origin. 9
The ability to extract information from human faces and respond appropriately could have 10
had a selective advantage during the process of domestication, especially as the emotional 11
content of these faces may be of immediate adaptive behavioural significance. Indeed, 12
recent studies have shown that the owner’s right hemiface (left hemiface from viewer’s 13
perspective) can express a range of emotional expressions more accurately, and more 14
importantly, can express specifically the negative expression of, evoked anger, more 15
intensely (e.g. Indersmitten and Gur 2003). As the LGB directs the viewer’s attention to 16
this side of face image, it could help the viewer detect and recognize biologically important 17
information more quickly and precisely in faces of functional significance. 18
The maintenance of the bias by dogs towards inverted human faces may also be 19
specifically important for this species. Dogs will frequently roll over and look up at human 20
faces in initial social exchanges as an appeasement gesture and the ability to read the 21
human face in this context may be important to establish if appeasement has succeeded. If 22
LGB has its origins in right hemisphere specialisation for facial processing, it would be 23
surprising if the behaviour could be reversed when the dog is viewing a face upside down, 24
although this would allow preferential inspection of the right side of the viewee’s face. 25
Dogs may not show a bias towards monkey faces because of their unfamiliarity or 1
irrelevance compared to human faces, although the differentiating criteria remain to be 2
established. However, a failure to show LGB towards dog faces might reflect a reduced 3
dependence on facial processing in the initial assessment of conspecifics in this species, 4
with greater facial asymmetry in this species and non-facial greeting including olfactory 5
cues and visual cues of body postures perhaps being of greater significance. 6
General discussion 8
With the presentation of object images and faces of different species with upright 9
and inverted orientation, in this comparative study we systematically examined the face-10
related LGB, defined by the higher probability of first gaze and a higher proportion of 11
viewing time directed at the left hemiface, in human infants, human adults, rhesus monkeys 12
and domestic dogs. While human infants showed a more general bias towards the left side 13
of a visual image (mostly for upright images), adults demonstrated a very specific LGB 14
towards upright human faces only. Laboratory-reared monkeys showed selective LGB 15
towards upright human and monkey faces, while pet dogs only attended to the left side of 16
human faces. Taken together, our results suggest that the face-specific LGB is not apparent 17
in human infants, but develops over time; also, our evidence shows that the LGB is not a 18
human-specific phenomenon, but seems to have broader adaptive value to social species. 19
Interestingly, both human adults and dogs demonstrated a LGB towards a broader 20
range of face types at the earliest stage of face viewing (human and monkey faces with 21
different orientations for human observers, upright and inverted human faces for dogs; Fig. 22
1C and 2C), adding further support to the hypothesis that the initial gaze bias for faces is 23
automatic and internally-driven (Leonards and Scott-Samuel 2005), probably initiated by 24
the gist configuration of face stimuli. After initial analysis, the LGB could be refined 25
towards more efficient processing of biologically relevant faces (in our case, upright human 1
faces for both adult human participants and pet dogs, Fig. 1D and 2D), and would be less 2
evident for irrelevant faces or inverted faces as face inversion would alter global 3
configuration of facial features and reduce efficiency and accuracy of face processing 4
(Valentine 1988; Rossion and Gauthier 2002). A recent correlation study in humans also 5
suggests that only an overall leftward face scanning bias (i.e. total number of left hemiface 6
fixation within a trial), rather than initial gaze bias, can be correlated with perceptual 7
processing of facial cues (Bulter et al. 2005). 8
In our study, we did not observe a consistent gaze bias towards object images in 9
human adults and dogs, or towards inverted faces in monkeys. This observation rules out 10
general preferential attention towards the left visual field and extensively-practised left-to-11
right scanning bias in humans as specific explanations for the LGB phenomenon. A recent 12
recording of human saccadic eye movements in face processing also demonstrated that the 13
initial gaze bias is the most evident while exploring upright faces, and is less or not evident 14
while exploring inverted faces and symmetric non-face object or landscape images 15
(Leonards and Scott-Samuel 2005). Taken together, the face- and orientation-sensitive 16
LGB we observed here is most likely due to a lateralised right hemisphere bias for face 17
processing which has been revealed by studies of brain imaging and patients with focal 18
brain lesions (e.g. Farah and Aguirre 1999; Bukach et al. 2006; Grossmann and Johnson 19
2007). 20
Unlike humans and monkeys, relatively little is known about cerebral lateralization 21
in dogs from neuroimaging approach. However, some behaviour studies on paw preference 22
(Tan 1987; Wells 2003; Quaranta et al. 2004; Branson and Rogers 2006; Poyser et al. 23
2006) and tail-wagging response (Quaranta et al. 2007) have suggested a functional brain 24
asymmetry in dogs which may even correlate with their immune system function (Quaranta 25
et al. 2006, 2008). The right hemisphere also has greater mass, and this appears to be 1
independent of laterality in certain forms of motor behaviour (Tan and Çalşikan 1987), 2
which would be consistent with laterality in certain perceptual processes. Our observation 3
of LGB towards human faces provides new evidence to support this hypothesis, with brain 4
lateralization apparent in face processing in dogs. Furthermore, this prominent gaze 5
asymmetry could be a useful non-invasive tool in the wider study of some aspects of social 6
cognition (e.g. facial signalling) in those species who exhibit a bias. 7
As the recognition of facial expression is a crucial part of social cognition, right 8
hemisphere dominance in emotional processing, such as in detecting facial movements (i.e. 9
lip smacking; Ferrari et al. 2003; Leslie et al. 2004) and judging negative emotions (i.e. fear 10
and anger; Asthana and Mandall 2001; Indersmitten and Gur 2003), may also steer the 11
initiation of gaze asymmetry towards faces. Overall, it seems likely that the affective and 12
semantic information contained in those faces with adaptive behavioural significance for 13
the species concerned, are the most likely determinants of face-related LGB. In other 14
words, the LGB may not just be initiated by the gist configuration of the faces in an 15
automatic fashion, but is actively engaged in the processing of relevant facial cues. 16
Consequently, the amplitude of LGB could well be affected by different type of facial 17
information. This issue is currently under investigation by our group. 18
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12 Legends 13
Figure 1: (A) and (C), the probability of initial fixation directed at left and right side of 14
presented images for 6-month-old human infants and adults. (B) and (D), the averaged 15
proportion of viewing time within a trial on the left and right side of presented images for 16
human infants and adults. Error bars indicate standard error of mean (* p<0.05, ** p<0.01). 17
Figure 2: (A) and (C), the probability of initial fixation directed at left and right side of 20
presented images for monkeys and dogs. (B) and (D), the averaged proportion of viewing 21
time within a trial on the left and right side of presented images for monkeys and dogs. 22
Error bars indicate standard error of mean (* p<0.05, ** p<0.01). 23
Table 1 1
6 Table 1 Cumulative image viewing time as percentage of total trial time (%). Values 7
presented in the table are mean±SEM. 8
Human infants Human adults Monkeys Dogs
Upright human face 68.71±2.88 97.99±0.74 51.08±2.80 47.19±2.75
Inverted human face 68.24±3.15 96.18±1.16 43.87±3.53 47.35±2.18
Upright monkey face 66.34±3.30 97.20±0.97 51.50±2.28 46.26±3.18
Inverted monkey face 63.87±3.32 96.52±0.85 44.19±3.25 45.18±2.80
Upright dog face 43.68±1.84
Inverted dog face 43.02±2.94
Object images 65.10±2.28 97.69±0.86 43.55±1.54
Figure 1 2
Human infants
Probability of
first fixation (%)
Human adults
Probability of
first fixation (%)
** * ** **
Proportion of total
viewing time (%)
left hem iface right hemiface
Proportion of total
viewing time (%)
left hem iface right hemiface
6 7
Figure 2 1
Probability of
first fixation (%)
Probability of
first fixation (%)
** **
Proportion of total
viewing time (%)
left hem iface
right hemiface
Proportion of total
viewing time (%)
left hem iface right hemiface
8 9
... This bias-the so-called left visual field (LVF) bias-has been linked to the right hemispheric dominance for face processing, as visual information in the left hemifield is initially projected to the right hemisphere (Coolican et al., 2008;Gilbert & Bakan, 1973). Although more research would be needed to explore to what extent this bias to the left is increased in face perception as opposed to other stimuli (Nicholls & Roberts, 2002), there is correlational evidence that the strength of the LVF bias during face perception covaries with lateralization indices of the FFA (Yovel et al., 2008) and experimental results showing that the LVF bias manifests more clearly when looking at upright compared with either inverted face stimuli or to inanimate objects (Guo et al., 2009). These findings point towards the usefulness of gaze-based LVF bias as an accessible and non-invasive behavioural marker of brain lateralization of the face processing system or even of the general maturity of the brain (Davis et al., 2022;Masulli et al., 2022). ...
... In particular, there are at least three important points that need addressing. First, while it is known that cortical face specialization continues into adolescence (Kadosh & Johnson, 2007), the LVF bias is present in typically developing children as young as 6 months (Donati et al., 2020;Dundas, Gastgeb, & Strauss, 2012;Wheeler, 2010) and is even found in some animal species (Guo et al., 2009), making it unlikely to be solely a consequence of reading development. Second, the LVF bias using eye tracking is weaker or non-existing in several other conditions besides dyslexia, including in autism (Dundas, Best, et al., 2012;Dundas, Gastgeb, & Strauss, 2012;Masulli et al., 2022), in premature infants (Davis et al., 2022), in individuals with depression (Masulli et al., 2022) and in social anxiety (Löwenberg et al., 2020). ...
... Of special importance here would be to examine the possible role of reading-induced scanning habits to the left (Megreya & Havard, 2011) or more general leftward perceptual biases that are not specific to faces (Nicholls & Roberts, 2002). Although future research is needed to ultimately determine whether the current group differences and correlations are specific to faces, prior research has indeed shown that the LVF bias is typically more pronounced in face perception than in inverted face or inanimate object perception (Guo et al., 2009). ...
Full-text available
Background: When looking at faces, we tend to attend more to the left visual field (corresponding to the right side of the person's face). This phenomenon is called the left visual field bias (LVF) and is presumed to reflect the brain's right-sided dominance for face processing. Whether alterations in hemispheric dominance are present in dyslexia, and are linked with individual differences in word reading development more generally, is still unclear, and no prior research has utilized gaze-based LVF bias to explore these topics. Aims: The aim of the study was to examine whether the LVF bias differs in dyslexia and to examine the association with word-reading skills assessed dimensionally. Sample: Forty-six 9-13 year-old children with dyslexia and community control children, matched on age and listening comprehension. Methods: Participants were presented with a recorded face on a screen while their gaze patterns were collected with an eye tracker. Fixations to the left versus the right side of the face stimuli were compared. Results: Results showed a clear LVF bias in community controls, while no such bias was seen in the dyslexic group. Moreover, the strength of the LVF bias was correlated with better word reading in the controls. Conclusions: Our results suggest a link between weakened hemispheric dominance for face processing in dyslexia and in poor word reading, at least to the extent that the LVF bias actually mirrors underlying physiology. We discuss the implications of these novel findings, highlighting the need for future research to determine the specificity and developmental sources of LVF bias alterations.
... A second group of studies assumed that gaze asymmetries may be found in human and non-human primates while looking to emotional or neutral faces. A group of investigations strongly related to the previous one was based on the assumption that a 'left gaze bias' (Guo et al., 2009), i.e., a tendency to inspect first and for longer periods the left side of the viewed face, may be strongly involved in the left-side cradling preference (Salk, 1973), or in other approach and agoniztic social interactions. The whole issue of the left-side cradling bias in primates and of the underlying mechanisms was, therefore, considered in this section of the review, whereas in a further section we took into account the more general problem of the influence that a left visual bias could have on other social approach and agoniztic interactions (Casperd and Dunbar, 1996). ...
... On most trials, chimpanzees selected the face in which the smiling half fell in the left hemispatial field. A comparison between the human and chimpanzee's or monkeys' gaze asymmetries associated with neutral or emotional face exploration was made by Plotnik et al. (2003), Guo et al. (2009) and by Zhu et al. (2013). Plotnik et al. (2003) tried to find evidence for a visual field advantage (VFA) in the face perception of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes (Pan troglodytes) trained to distinguish between images of neutral face chimeras consisting of two left sides (LL) or right sides (RR) of the face. ...
... Data on their choice of the LL vs. RR chimera as a match to the true, neutral image were considered as indicative of an hemispatial visual field advantage, but results suggested that chimpanzees, unlike humans, do not exhibit a left visual field advantage. Guo et al. (2009) investigated gaze asymmetries in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), using as stimuli 20 monkey and 20 human face images with neutral facial expression. They showed a general left gaze bias associated with face exploration in which the left side of upright monkey and human faces had a significantly higher probability of being the first saccade destination and attracted more fixations. ...
A systematic review of investigations evaluating hemispheric asymmetries for emotions in primates was undertaken to individuate the most consistent lines of research allowing to check the hypothesis of a continuum in emotional lateralization across vertebrates. We reviewed studies on the lateralization of emotional expression (N=31) and perception (N=32) and of markers of emotional activation (N=9), trying to distinguish those which had given respectively more consistent or more conflicting outcomes. Furthermore, we tried to identify the most strongly supported model of emotional lateralization. The most consistent results were obtained in studies investigating asymmetries in emotional expression at the facial level and in the perception of emotional facial expressions, whereas the most disappointing data were obtained in investigations evaluating possible neurophysiological markers of lateralized emotional activation. These results supported more the hypothesis of a continuity between humans and non-human primates than the more general hypothesis of a continuum between humans and all vertebrates. Furthermore, results supported more the ‘right hemisphere’ than the ‘valence’ model of emotional lateralization.
... In particular, the notion that continuous interactions with right-handed individuals might contribute to the emergence of the leftward bias for faces would be corroborated by research showing that such a bias can also be found in children aged around 5 years and seems to increase until reaching a level comparable to that of adults by the age of around 10 years (see [218] for a review). This proposal is further supported by the finding that, whereas in infancy a broad leftward bias can be observed for both upright and inverted human faces, monkey faces and objects, in adulthood a leftward bias is only observed for upright human faces [219] (see [220] for congruent findings in chimpanzees). Moreover, the increase in leftward bias is observed exclusively for human faces, which likely indicates the involvement of experience-dependent developmental factors [221]. ...
... Moreover, the increase in leftward bias is observed exclusively for human faces, which likely indicates the involvement of experience-dependent developmental factors [221]. A leftward bias for human faces was also found in laboratory-raised rhesus monkeys and domestic dogs [219]. We point out that in dogs no bias was observed for monkey and dog faces, and we suppose that such a selectivity might be explained more by continuous interactions with right-handed humans (see [220] for congruent findings in chimpanzees) than by other interpretations such as the existence, not only in humans but also in dogs, of a right-hemispheric specialization for human but not dog faces. ...
... The proposal that left-ward biases might be promoted by the frequent interaction with right-handed individuals is in agreement with both experience-expectant and experience-dependent views of brain development [225], as well as with previous research indicating that the lateralization of face processing can be affected by experience (e.g., infant holding biases [226] and reading habits [227][228][229][230]). However, it should be remarked that the emergence of such biases cannot be accounted for by reading habits both because eye-tracking studies indicate that, as regards face perception, a LVF bias appears within the first 9-11 months of life [231,232] and because the leftward bias becomes increasingly more specific for upright human faces with age [219]. On the contrary, our hypothesis would be in agreement with the reduced left-bias for chimeric faces observed in adults whose mothers exhibited a right-cradling bias [226], given that such women are more likely to be left-handed [155,212,213] (see [152] for a meta-analysis and review) and-more in general-to use the left hand for concurrent tasks while cradling [155,214]. ...
Full-text available
Although the population-level preference for the use of the right hand is the clearest example of behavioral lateralization, it represents only the best-known instance of a variety of functional asymmetries observable in humans. What is interesting is that many of such asymmetries emerge during the processing of social stimuli, as often occurs in the case of human bodies, faces and voices. In the present paper, after reviewing previous literature about human functional asymmetries for social and emotional stimuli, we suggest some possible links among them and stress the necessity of a comprehensive account (in both ontogenetic and phylogenetic terms) for these not yet fully explained phenomena. In particular, we propose that the advantages of lateralization for emotion processing should be considered in light of previous suggestions that (i) functional hemispheric specialization enhances cognitive capacity and efficiency, and (ii) the alignment (at the population level) of the direction of behavioral asymmetries emerges, under social pressures, as an evolutionary stable strategy.
... Yet, since research on humans shows that neutral faces are sometimes processed in a similar way to fearful faces (Lee et al., 2008), dogs' display of a left eye/right hemisphere lateralization may be interpreted as a response to stimuli that were appraised as aversive rather than neutral. This is also consistent with the work of Guo et al. (2009) on dogs' gaze bias towards human faces (although see the later work, Siniscalchi et al., 2018a for a different result). Alternatively, dogs' response to neutral faces may suggest a general specialisation of the left eye/right hemisphere system in processing facial expressions rather than demonstrating a right hemisphere dominance for processing alarming stimuli in particular, which was the original interpretation of the work by Guo et al. (2009). ...
... This is also consistent with the work of Guo et al. (2009) on dogs' gaze bias towards human faces (although see the later work, Siniscalchi et al., 2018a for a different result). Alternatively, dogs' response to neutral faces may suggest a general specialisation of the left eye/right hemisphere system in processing facial expressions rather than demonstrating a right hemisphere dominance for processing alarming stimuli in particular, which was the original interpretation of the work by Guo et al. (2009). For instance, experiments in sheep (Kendrick, 2006;Peirce et al., 2000Peirce et al., , 2001 and non-human primates (Hamilton and Vermeire, 1998;Pinsk et al., 2005) support the idea of a general specialisation of the right hemisphere for facial recognitiona function that has presumably descended from abilities by early vertebrates to visually recognise other individuals (MacNeilage et al., 2009) and which can be explained by a general superiority of the right hemisphere for processing spatial and configurational relations between visual objects and their properties (Rogers et al., 2013). ...
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SIMON, T., K. Guo, E. Frasnelli, A. Wilkinson and D.S. Mills. Testing of behavioural asymmetries as markers for brain lateralization of emotional states in pet dogs: a critical review. NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV XX(X) XXX-XXX, XXXX. Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) hold a unique position in human society, particularly in their role as social companions; as such, it is important to understand their emotional lives. There has been growing interest in studying behavioural biases in dogs as indirect markers (reflecting lateralized brain activity) of their emotional states. In this paper, we not only review the previous literature on emotion-related behavioural lateralization in dogs, but also propose and apply the concept of evidential weight to previous research. This allows us to examine different hypotheses about emotion-related brain asymmetries (i.e., Right-Hemisphere-, Valence-, Approach-Withdrawal-Hypothesis) on the basis of a “likelihood-ist” concept of evidence. We argue that previous studies have not been able to discriminate well between competing hypotheses and tended to focus on confirmation bias than critically assess different hypotheses; as such there is a strong case for more systematic investigation to pull these theories apart. We present the areas for future research and explain their importance for understanding the emotional lives of dogs.
... More specifically, by observing dogs looking patterns and pupil sizes, we now have converging evidence that dogs do not have a gravity bias (something also seen in behavioral studies, Tecwyn & Buchsbaum, 2019) and that dogs, like human infants, understand contact causality (Völter & Huber, 2021). Screen-based eye-tracking has also been used to explore gaze bias-the tendency to look more at a section of a stimulus (i.e., the left side) regardless of what the stimulus is (Guo et al., 2009). ...
Humans rely on dogs for countless tasks, ranging from companionship to highly specialized detection work. In their daily lives, dogs must navigate a human-built visual world, yet comparatively little is known about what dogs visually attend to as they move through their environment. Real-world eye-tracking, or head-mounted eye-tracking, allows participants to freely move through their environment, providing more naturalistic results about visual attention while interacting with objects and agents. In dogs, real-world eye-tracking has the potential to inform our understanding of cross-species cognitive abilities as well as working dog training; however, a robust and easily deployed head-mounted eye-tracking method for dogs has not previously been developed and tested. We present a novel method for real-world eye-tracking in dogs, using a simple head-mounted mobile apparatus mounted onto goggles designed for dogs. This new method, adapted from systems that are widely used in humans, allows for eye-tracking during more naturalistic behaviors, namely walking around and interacting with real-world stimuli, as well as reduced training time as compared to traditional stationary eye-tracking methods. We found that while completing a simple forced-choice treat finding task, dogs look primarily to the treat, and we demonstrated the accuracy of this method using alternative gaze-tracking methods. Additionally, eye-tracking revealed more fine-grained time course information and individual differences in looking patterns.
... People generally rely more on information conveyed by the left side of the face (from the viewer's perspective). When judging faces or carrying out visual searches, the left side is generally inspected first (Guo et al., 2009) and for a longer period of time than the right side (Ricciardelli et al., 2002;Butler and Harvey, 2006;Guo et al., 2012). These phenomena, which have been termed "left-side bias" (Wolff, 1933), are considered stable markers of perceptual expertise in face processing (Hsiao and Cottrell, 2009). ...
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One stable marker of face perception appears to be left-side bias, the tendency to rely more on information conveyed by the left side of the face than the right. Previous studies have shown that left-side bias is influenced by familiarity and prior experience with face stimuli. Since other-race facial recognition is characterized by reduced familiarity, in contrast to own-race facial recognition, the phenomenon of left-side bias is expected to be weaker for other-race faces. Among Chinese participants, face inversion has been found to eliminate the left-side bias associated with own-race faces. Therefore, it is of interest to know whether face inversion influences left-side bias for non-Chinese research participants and can be generalized across own- and other-race faces. This study assessed 65 Caucasian participants using upright and inverted chimeric Caucasian and Asian faces in an identity similarity-judgment task. Although a significant left-side bias was observed for upright own-race faces, this bias was eliminated by facial inversion, indicating that such a bias depends on the applicability of configural processing strategies. For other-race faces, there was no left-side bias in the upright condition. Interestingly, the inverted presentation yielded a right-side bias. These results show that while left-side bias is affected by familiarity differences between own- and other-race faces, it is a universal phenomenon for upright faces. Inverted presentation strongly reduces left-side bias and may even cause it to revert to right-side bias, suggesting that left-side bias depends on configural face processing.
Contextual cueing can depend on global configuration or local item position. We investigated the role of these two kinds of cues in the lateralization of contextual cueing effects. Cueing by item position was tested by recombing two previously learned displays, keeping the individual item locations intact, but destroying the global configuration. In contrast, cueing by configuration was investigated by rotating learned displays, thereby keeping the configuration intact but changing all item positions. We observed faster search for targets in the left display half, both for repeated and new displays, along with more first fixation locations on the left. Both position and configuration cues led to faster search, but the search time reduction compared to new displays due to position cues was comparable in the left and right display half. In contrast, configural cues led to increased search time reduction for right half targets. We conclude that only configural cues enabled memory-guided search for targets across the whole search display, whereas position cueing guided search only to targets in the vicinity of the fixation. The right-biased configural cueing effect is a consequence of the initial leftward search bias and does not indicate hemispheric dominance for configural cueing.
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Games and puzzles provide a valuable context for examining human problem- solving behavior. We recorded and analyzed the sequence of letters viewed by the participants of our study while they were solving anagram puzzles. The goal was to examine and understand how people's linguistic habits and prior knowledge influenced their eye movements. The main findings of this study are: (1) People's stereotypical habit of scanning (e.g., adjacent or top viewing) strongly influences their solution-seeking behavior. (2) People tend to incorpo- rate their prior knowledge of letter statistics in a reasonable way, such as looking less frequently at letter combinations that are uncommon in the English lan- guage. Therefore, it was found that people’s prior.
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The topic of the human face is addressed from a biocultural perspective, focusing on the empirical investigation of how the face is represented, perceived, and evaluated in artistic portraits and self-portraits from the XVth to the XVIIth century. To do so, the crucial role played by the human face in social cognition is introduced, starting from development, showing that neonatal facial imitation and face-to-face dyadic interactions provide the grounding elements for the construction of intersubjective bonds. The neuroscience of face perception is concisely presented and discussed, together with the psycho-physics of face perception and gaze exploration, introducing the notions of the left visual field advantage (LVFA) and the left gaze bias (LGB). The results of experiments on the perception and the emotional and aesthetic rating of artistic portraits and self-portraits are reported, showing that despite participants' inability to tell self-portraits and portraits apart, greater emotional, communicative-social, and aesthetic ratings were attributed to self-portraits. It is concluded that neuroscience and experimental aesthetics can contribute to better understand the human face, hence to better understand ourselves.
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People often rely on habitual, serial processing when presented with to-be-learned information. We tested how strategic processing can override more bottom-up, serial processes when remembering information by having participants study a list of word triads (e.g., “dollar phone pizza”). Participants' goal was manipulated by maximizing either (i) their recall for each of the studied words or (ii) their total score associated with recalling certain words in each triad that were more valuable (worth more points) to engage either serial or strategic processing and retrieval mechanisms. Results revealed that when learners were told to maximize their total recall, they frequently engaged in serial remembering—remembering guided by an item's location within the study phase (i.e., words were retrieved according to a habitual reading bias). However, when words were paired with point values that counted towards participants' scores if recalled, participants were not only selective for high-value words but also attempted to overcome the tendency to engage in serial remembering; instead, they appeared to engage in strategic remembering whereby retrieval is guided by value. Thus, to maximize memory utility, it may be beneficial to override habitual processes and initiate retrieval with high-value words, and when making recall transitions, to recall high-value words together. Importantly, when certain to-be-remembered words were more valuable than their neighbors, participants still demonstrated some serial processing of the to-be-remembered words, indicating that even when engaging in strategic memory, some habitual processes can persist.
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It has recently been reported that predator inspection is more likely to occur when a companion (i.e. the mirror image of the test animal) is visible on the left rather than on the right side of mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki. This very unexpected outcome could be consistent with the hypothesis of a preferential use of the right eye during sustained fixation of a predator as well as of a preferential use of the left eye during fixation of conspecifics. We measured the time spent in monocular viewing during inspection of their own mirror images in females of six species of fish, belonging to different families— G. holbrooki, Xenotoca eiseni, Phoxinus phoxinus, Pterophyllum scalare, Xenopoecilus sarasinorum, and Trichogaster trichopterus. Results revealed a consistent left-eye preference during sustained fixation in all of the five species. Males of G. holbrooki, which do not normally show any social behaviour, did not exhibit any eye preferences during mirror-image inspection. We found, however, that they could be induced to manifest a left-eye preference, likewise females, if tested soon after capture, when some affiliative tendencies can be observed. These findings add to current evidence in a variety of vertebrate species for preferential involvement of structures located in the right side of the brain in response to the viewing of conspecifics. © 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
There is developmental progression in the ability to recognize human faces (HF) during childhood, accompanied by qualitative differences in what children perceive and remember. The best known example is that of sensitivity to vertical orientation: while there is age-related improvement in recognizing upright faces, upside-down ones show no recognition improvement. It is believed by some investigators to be a sign of developing face-expertise over the first 10 years or so of life. If expertise, based on experience with many individuals, is the basis for the development of the inversion-effect, faces from other species should not induce inversion-effects. In two experiments, we explored the expertise phenomenon by testing recognition of faces of different animal species with children between 5 and 10 years of age. Our results failed to show any developmental changes in the processing of faces of own- and other-species. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The present investigations were undertaken to compare interspecific communicative abilities of dogs and wolves, which were socialized to humans at comparable levels. The first study demonstrated that socialized wolves were able to locate the place of hidden food indicated by the touching and, to some extent, pointing cues provided by the familiar human experimenter, but their performance remained inferior to that of dogs. In the second study, we have found that, after undergoing training to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are faced with an insoluble version of the same problem look/gaze at the human, while socialized wolves do not. Based on these observations, we suggest that the key difference between dog and wolf behavior is the dogs' ability to look at the human's face. Since looking behavior has an important function in initializing and maintaining communicative interaction in human communication systems, we suppose that by positive feedback processes (both evolutionary and ontogenetically) the readiness of dogs to look at the human face has lead to complex forms of dog-human communication that cannot be achieved in wolves even after extended socialization.
Investigated the development of gaze aversion in 8 infant rhesus monkeys ( Macaca mulatta) by recording their visual fixations while they scanned pictures of monkey faces looking back at them and pictures of monkey faces looking away. During the 1st week of life, Ss inspected the 2 face-types equally. During Weeks 3 and 7, however, they inspected the faces looking back less than the faces looking away. The maturation of selective viewing was not paralleled by changes in scanning strategies (e.g., by a shift from scanning the contours of faces to fixations of internal details). The implications of early species-typical social awareness for social and perceptual development in rhesus monkeys are discussed. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Right hemisphere advantage in individual recognition (as shown by differences between response to strangers and companions) is clear in the domestic chick. Chicks using the left eye (and so, thanks to the complete optic decussation, predominantly the right hemisphere) discriminate between stranger and companion. Chicks using the right eye discriminate less clearly or not at all. The ability of left eyed chicks to respond to differences between strangers and companions stimuli is associated with a more general ability to detect and respond to novelty: this difference between left and right eyed chicks also holds for stimuli which are not social partners. The right hemisphere also shows advantage in tasks with a spatial component (topographical learning; response to change in the spatial context of a stimulus) in the chick, as in humans. Similar specialisations of the two hemispheres are also revealed in tests which involve olfactory cues presented by social partners. The special properties of the left hemisphere are less well established in the chick. Evidence reviewed here suggests that it tends to respond to selected properties of a stimulus and to use them to assign it to a category; such assignment then allows an appropriate response. When exposed to an imprinting stimulus (visual or auditory) a chick begins by using right eye or ear (suggesting left hemisphere control), and then shifts to the left eye or ear (suggesting right hemisphere control), as exposure continues. The left hemisphere here is thus involved whilst behaviour is dominated by vigorous response to releasing stimuli presented by an object. Subsequent learning about the full detailed properties of the stimulus, which is crucial for individual recognition, may explain the shift to right hemisphere control after prolonged exposure to the social stimulus. There is a marked sex difference in choice tests: females tend to choose companions in tests where males choose strangers. It is possible that this difference is specifically caused by stronger motivation to sustain social contact in female chicks, for which there is extensive evidence. However, sex differences in response to change in familiar stimuli are also marked in tests which do not involve social partners. Finally, in both sexes there are two periods during development in which there age-dependent shifts in bias to use one or other hemisphere. These periods (days 3–5 and 8–11) coincide with two major changes in the social behaviour of chicks reared by a hen in a normal brood. It is argued that one function of these periods is to bring fully into play the hemisphere most appropriate to the type of response to, and learning about, social partners which is needed at particular points in development. Parallels are discussed between the involvement of lateralised processes in the recognition of social partners in chicks and humans.
Using the Strange Situation Test originally developed for testing the mother–infant relationship in humans, we compared the attachment behaviour of extensively socialized (hand-reared) dog, Canis familiaris, and wolf, Canis lupus, puppies towards their human caregiver with that of pet dog puppies of the same age. The experiment was designed to study whether (1) dog puppies as young as 16 weeks show attachment to a human caregiver, (2) extensive socialization by human caregivers affects attachment behaviour of dog puppies and (3) evolutionary changes (in the form of species-specific differences between wolf and dog pups) affect the emergence of dog–human attachment. We found a characteristic selective responsiveness to the owner in young dogs, similar to that observed in adults. This finding supports the view that puppies show patterns of attachment towards their owners. Extensive socialization had only a minor effect on the attachment behaviour in dog puppies, as the behaviour of pet dogs and hand-reared dogs was basically similar. However, we found a significant species-specific difference between wolves and dogs: both extensively socialized and pet dog puppies were more responsive to the owner than to an unfamiliar human participant, whereas extensively socialized wolves were not. Behavioural differences could be best explained by assuming that selective processes took place in the course of domestication (genetic changes) that are related to the attachment system of the dog.
When given a choice test male chicks, Gallus gallus domesticus L., using only their left eye chose to associate with the model with which they lived rather than moderate or large transformations of it. When choosing between a familiar model and a small transformation (45° rotation of a bar on the face of a spherical model) or between a cagemate and a strange chick (from the same batch as those with which the chick lived), left-eyed chicks chose the strange model or chick. Males using both eyes behaved like left-eyed males, suggesting that the right hemisphere here controls normal behaviour. Right-eyed males chose at random, except when transformations were large; they then chose the familiar model. Female chicks under all conditions chose the familiar model, but when given a choice between familiar and strange chicks righteyed females, like right-eyed males, failed to choose. Lateralization is thus not absent in females, but is sometimes masked. These findings and earlier evidence using very different stimuli suggest that the visual systems fed by the left eye are specialized to respond to small changes in any of a variety of stimulus properties.
Rhesus monkeys were trained on a variety of simultaneous two-choice visual discrimination tasks to assess their ability to utilize pictures of other rhesus monkey faces as discriminative stimuli. The results revealed that this non-human primate is particularly adept at making such discriminations and is not confused by manipulations in orientation; posture; size; color; or illumination.RésuméOn a entrainé des singes rhésus sur un certain nombre d'épreuves de discrimination visuelle simultanée à 2 choix pur s'assurer de leurs capacités à utiliser comme stimulus de discrimination des repésentations de visages d'autres singes rhésus. Les résultats montraient que ce primate non humain est particulièrement capable de réussir de telles discriminations et qu'il n'est pas troublé par des manipulations de l'orientation de la position, de la taille, de la couleur ou de l'illumination.ZusammenfassungRhesusaffen wurden mit einer Anzahl von optischen Diskriminationstests, bei denen zwei Objekte simultan zur Wahl standen, trainiert, um ihre Fähigkeit zu prüfen, Bilder von anderen Rhesusaffen als Unterscheidungsstimuli zu verwenden. Die Resultate ergaben, daβ dieser nicht humane Primat teilweise die Fähigkeit erwirbt, derartige Unterscheidungen zu treffen und dabei nicht durch Manipulationen der Orientierung, der Lage, der Gröβe, der Farbe oder der Beleuchtung irritiert wird.