Psihologija 2009 Volume 42, Issue 3, Pages: 307-327
doi:10.2298/PSI0903307K
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Eye-tracking study of animate objects

Ković Vanja, Plunkett Kim, Westermann Gert

This study involved presentation of animate objects under labeling and non-labeling conditions and examination of participants' looking pattern across these conditions. Results revealed a surprisingly consistent way in which adults look at the pictures of animate objects. The head/eyes of the animals were a typical region attracting a number of fixations, but also some other parts of animals (e.g. the tail in cats, or the udder in cows and the body in snakes). Furthermore, not only did participants tend to look at similar regions of the pictures of animate objects, but also the looking order to these regions was consistent across participants. However, contrary to the original predictions, these patterns of fixations were similar across the naming and non-naming conditions ('Look at the !', 'Look at the picture!' and 'What's this?', respectively), which led to the conclusion that participants' consistency in processing animate objects was not reflecting underlying mental representation evoked by labels, but was rather driven by the structural similarity of animate objects, in particular the presence of a head.

Keywords: animate objects, eye-tracking, mental representations

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