Left hemi-face (LHF) perceptual bias of chimeric faces in normal right-handers is well-documented. We investigated mechanisms underlying this by measuring visual scan paths in right-handed normal controls (n = 9) and schizophrenics (n = 8) for simple, full-face photographs and schematic, happy-sad chimeric faces over 5 s. Normals viewed the left side/ LHF first, more so than the right of all stimuli. Schizophrenics viewed the LHF first more than the right of stimuli for which there was a LHF choice of predominant affect. Neither group demonstrated an overall LHF perceptual bias for the chimeric stimuli. Readjustment of the initial LHF bias in controls was probably a result of increased attention to stimulus detail with scanning, whereas the schizophrenics demonstrated difficulty in redirection of the initial focus of attention. The study highlights the role of visual scan paths as a marker of normal and abnormal attentional processes.
Copyright 1997 Academic Press.