Dynamically orienting your own face facilitates the automatic attraction of attention

Minghui Liu, Xun He, Pia Rotsthein, Jie Sui*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


We report two experiments showing that dynamically orienting our own face facilitates the automatic attraction of attention. We had participants complete a cueing task where they had to judge the orientation of a lateralized target cued by a central face that dynamically changed its orientation. Experiment 1 showed a reliable cueing effect from both self- and friend-faces at a long stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), however, the self-faces exclusively generated a spatial cueing effect at a short SOA. In Experiment 2, event-related potential (ERP) data to the face cues showed larger amplitudes in the N1 component for self-faces relative to friend- and unfamiliar-faces. In contrast, the amplitude of the P3 component was reduced for self compared with friend- and unfamiliar-other cues. The size of the self-bias effect in N1 correlated with the strength of self-biases in P3. The results indicate that dynamic changes in the orientation of one’s own face can provide a strong ecological cue for attention, enhancing sensory responses (N1) and reducing any subsequent uncertainty (P3) in decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalCognitive Neuroscience
Issue number1-4
Early online date19 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China [Project 31371017] and by grant from the Economic and Social Research Council [ES/J001597/1, UK].


  • self-bias
  • attentional attraction
  • cueing effect
  • N1
  • P3


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