Eye placement bias is remarkably robust

Kirsten Smith, Vera Kempe, Lara Wood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


When drawing faces, people show a systematic bias of placing the eyes higher up the head than they are placed in reality. This study investigated the development of this phenomenon while removing the potential confound of drawing ability. Participants (N = 124) in three age groups (3–5 yo, 10–11 yo, and adults) reconstructed two foam faces: one from observation and one from memory. The high eye placement bias was remarkably robust with mean eye placement in every condition significantly higher than the original faces. The same bias was not shown for mouth placement. Eye placement was highest for the youngest participants and for the memory conditions. The results suggest that an eye placement bias is not caused by the motor skill demands required for drawing and lend evidence to the suggestion that an eye placement bias is caused by perceptual and decision-making processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number204166952110175
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Early online date25 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2021


  • Face perception
  • Objects and features
  • Perception
  • Development


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