Functional estimates of importance of facial features and oculomotor behavior: a straightforward or an intricate relation?

  • Armando M Oliveira
  • Ana D. Silva
  • M. Isidoro
  • Ricardo G. Viegas
  • Nuno Sá Teixeira


The relative importance of internal features of the face has been a recurrent topic of debate. Two experiments were performed with upright and inverted schematic faces obtained through factorial combination of three internal features. Participants answered on a bipolar graphic scale of expressed hostility -friendliness, while their oculomotor behavior was simultaneously recorded. An averaging model was established in both experiments, which allowed deriving estimates of importance for each feature. Patterns of importance were different for upright and inverse faces. Oculomotor behavior was also different in both situations. However, no simple correspondence between estimated importance and oculomotor indices was observed. Outcomes suggest some trend for an inverse relation between importance and number/ duration of fixations, but also show that this sole trend cannot account for the whole of data.

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