Biased attention orienting to the self-face during an attention capture task
Humans exhibit biased attention orienting to faces and have a hard time ignoring faces that appear in attention tasks (Beindemann et al., 2005; Cerf et al., 2009; Riby et al., 2012; Theeuwes & Van der Stigchel, 2006; Vuilleumier, 2000). Past research suggests that one’s own face, the self-face, prompts enhanced processing biases compared to faces of strangers and familiar others because the self-face may be even more unique and meaningful than others’ faces (Brédart et al., 2006; Devue et al., 2009; Devue & Brédart, 2008). However, it is still unknown how the self-face may capture attention compared to other faces when multiple competing stimuli are present. Consequently, adults’ automatic orienting biases to the self-face compared to faces in general in complex environments is unknown. In addition, the mechanisms underlying enhanced processing of the self-face remain unclear, as researchers have argued that it may reflect motivational salience of the self-face (Bola et al., 2021; Ota & Nakano, 2021), familiarity of the self-face (Brédart et al., 2016; Jublie & Kumar, 2021; Liu et al., 2016), or positive self-evaluation (Ma & Han, 2010; Ma & Han, 2012). The current study addresses these gaps by examining adults’ automatic attention capture by the self-face versus familiar faces and stranger faces. We used an attention capture task to determine whether the presence of the self-face interferes with target detection more than the presence of a familiar face or stranger’s face. We also examined links between participants’ social anxiety and individual differences in attention capture by the self-face to extend past research showing that ii positive self-evaluation may facilitate automatic orienting to the self-face (Ma & Han, 2010; Ma & Han, 2012). Finally, we conducted exploratory analyses to determine whether participants showed differential attention capture to the self-face compared to faces of other highly familiar individuals.