Analytic Eye Movement Patterns in Face Recognition are Associated with Better Performance and more Top-down Control of Visual Attention: an fMRI Study


Recent research has revealed two different eye movement pat-terns during face recognition: holistic and analytic. The present study investigated the neural correlates of these two patterns through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A more holistic pattern was associated with more activation in the face-selective perceptual areas, including the occipital face area and fusiform face area. In contrast, participants using a more analytic pattern demonstrated more activation in areas important for top-down control of visual attention, including the frontal eye field and intraparietal sulcus. In addition, participants using the analytic strategy had better recognition performance than those showing holistic patterns. These results suggest that analytic eye movement patterns are associated with more engagement of top-down control of visual attention, which may consequently enhance recognition performance.

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