Sex categorization from faces is a crucial ability for humans and non-human primates for various social and cognitive processes. In the current study, we performed two eye tracking experiments to examine the gaze behavior of participants during a sex categorization task in which participants categorize face pictures from their own-race (Caucasian), other-race (Asian) and other-species (chimpanzee). In experiment 1, we presented the faces in an upright position to 16 participants, and found a strong other-race and other-species effect. In experiment 2, the same faces were shown to 24 naïve participants in an upside-down (inverted) position, which showed that, although the other-species effect was intact, other-race effect disappeared. Moreover, eye-tracking analysis revealed that in the upright position, the eye region was the first and most widely viewed area for all face categories. However, during upside-down viewing, participants’ attention directed more towards the eye region of the own-race and own-species faces, whereas the nose received more attention in other-race and other-species faces. Overall results suggest that other-race faces were processed less holistically compared to own-race faces and this could affect both participants’ behavioral performance and gaze behavior during sex categorization. Finally, gaze data suggests that the gaze of participants shifts from the eye to the nose region with decreased racial and species-based familiarity.
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