Perception of stereoscopic direct gaze: The effects of interaxial distance and emotional facial expressions

Jussi Hakala*, Jari Kätsyri, Tapio Takala, Jukka Häkkinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Gaze perception has received considerable research attention due to its importance in social interaction. The majority of recent studies have utilized monoscopic pictorial gaze stimuli. However, a monoscopic direct gaze differs from a live or stereoscopic gaze. In the monoscopic condition, both eyes of the observer receive a direct gaze, whereas in live and stereoscopic conditions, only one eye receives a direct gaze. In the present study, we examined the implications of the difference between monoscopic and stereoscopic direct gaze. Moreover, because research has shown that stereoscopy affects the emotions elicited by facial expressions, and facial expressions affect the range of directions where an observer perceives mutual gaze- the cone of gaze-we studied the interaction effect of stereoscopy and facial expressions on gaze perception. Forty observers viewed stereoscopic images wherein one eye of the observer received a direct gaze while the other eye received a horizontally averted gaze at five different angles corresponding to five interaxial distances between the cameras in stimulus acquisition. In addition to monoscopic and stereoscopic conditions, the stimuli included neutral, angry, and happy facial expressions. The observers judged the gaze direction and mutual gaze of four lookers. Our results show that the mean of the directions received by the left and right eyes approximated the perceived gaze direction in the stereoscopic semidirect gaze condition. The probability of perceiving mutual gaze in the stereoscopic condition was substantially lower compared with monoscopic direct gaze. Furthermore, stereoscopic semidirect gaze significantly widened the cone of gaze for happy facial expressions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cyclopean perception
  • Emotional facial expressions
  • Eye contact
  • Gaze direction
  • Mutual gaze
  • Self-referential positivity bias
  • Stereoscopy

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