Humans rely heavily on the visual and oculomotor systems during social interactions. This study examined individual differences in gaze behavior in two types of face-to-face social interactions: a screen-based interview and a live interview. The study examined how stable these individual differences are across scenarios and how it relates to individuals’ traits of social anxiety, autism, and neuroticism. Extending previous studies, we distinguished between individuals’ tendency to look at the face, and the tendency to look at the eyes if the face was fixated. These gaze measures demonstrated high internal consistencies (correlation between two halves of the data within a scenario) within both the screen-based and live interview scenarios. Furthermore, individuals who had a tendency to look more at the eyes during one type of interview tended to display the same behavior during the other interview type. More socially anxious participants looked less at faces in both scenarios, but no link with social anxiety was observed for the tendency to look at the eyes. This research highlights the robustness of individual variations in gaze behavior across and within interview scenarios, as well as the usefulness of measuring the tendency to look at faces separately from the tendency to look at eyes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) grant 2414/20 and JOY fund research grant to Y.P. Written informed consent was obtained from the two persons for the publication of identifying information and images in an open-access publication. We thank them for the approval.
© 2023 The Authors
- eye movements
- face preference
- individual differences
- social anxiety
- social interaction