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Visual Processing of Baby Schema

Author: WangLin
Tutor: LiHong; ZhaoYuFang
School: Southwestern University
Course: Basic Psychology
Keywords: baby schema attentional bias eye movement
CLC: B842
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2013
Downloads: 13
Quote: 0
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Abstract


Ethologist Konrad Lorenz defined the baby schema as a set of infantile physical features, such as round face, big eyes, small mouth, that is perceived as cute and motivates caretaking behavior in the human. Previous research showed that OFC which is the key region in mediating reward processing is activated when people viewing infant pictures. Behavioral researches also showed that high baby schema infant facial pictures were rated as more attractive. This study conducted two researches aimed at exploring the visual processing of baby schema and the time-course of attentional bias towards it.In experiment1,36collage students freely viewed72faces of infants and adults, and then rated them on likeability, attractiveness and perceived age. Eyelink1000recorded the eye movement data during the viewing session. There are four AOIs of each faces:eyes, nose, mouth and the whole face. In experiment2,38collage students were asked to freely view36face pairs. One of the two faces displayed together was infant face, and the other was adult. Each face pair was displayed twice, one was displayed for500ms, and the other is for5000ms, which is divided into10intervals during analysis. The former one aimed at explored the initial attentional bias, and the later one was about sustained attention.The results of experiment1showed that people spent more time on watching eyes, nose and mouth of infant faces. In the same time, compared with the faces of adult, more first fixations were directed to eyes, nose when watching infant faces, and the latency of them were much shorter. Correlation analysis revealed that when the age of adult seemed older, the time spent on looking at eyes, nose and mouth was much longer. The results from experiment2showed that in the500ms condition, more first fixations were directed to adult faces by men. But in the5000ms condition, men and women both showed an increase of attentional bias to infant faces during the earlier stage of5000ms. This increase happened earlier in women, compared with men. In the last8intervals, women showed attentional bias towards infant faces which was not observed in men.The results of the two experiments revealed that infant face, which is one of the most typical example of baby schema, can induce special behavioral reaction, including raising the looking time on the key areas of faces to seek for information, and exploring infant faces more quickly without the influence of age perception. When displayed to face pairs of infant and adult, people increased the attention to infant faces during the early stage, which happened earlier in women than men; Women showed volunteering attentional bias to them in the later stage of the whole period.

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