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Title: Attention Dynamics During Emotion Recognition by Deaf and Hearing Individuals
Abstract The enhancement hypothesis suggests that deaf individuals are more vigilant to visual emotional cues than hearing individuals. The present eye-tracking study examined ambient–focal visual attention when encoding affect from dynamically changing emotional facial expressions. Deaf (n = 17) and hearing (n = 17) individuals watched emotional facial expressions that in 10-s animations morphed from a neutral expression to one of happiness, sadness, or anger. The task was to recognize emotion as quickly as possible. Deaf participants tended to be faster than hearing participants in affect recognition, but the groups did not differ in accuracy. In general, happy faces were more accurately and more quickly recognized than faces expressing anger or sadness. Both groups demonstrated longer average fixation duration when recognizing happiness in comparison to anger and sadness. Deaf individuals directed their first fixations less often to the mouth region than the hearing group. During the last stages of emotion recognition, deaf participants exhibited more focal viewing of happy faces than negative faces. This pattern was not observed among hearing individuals. The analysis of visual gaze dynamics, switching between ambient and focal attention, was useful in studying the depth of cognitive processing of emotional information among deaf and hearing individuals.
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The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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