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Orthodontics 11 (2010), No. 2     15. June 2010
Orthodontics 11 (2010), No. 2  (15.06.2010)

Page 153-159

How Others Perceive Orthognathic Patients: An Eye-Tracking Study
Meyer-Marcotty, Philipp / Alpers, Georg W. / Gerdes, Antje B. M. / Stellzig-Eisenhauer, Angelika
Aim: To test the hypothesis that the faces of patients with a severe Class III are contemplated differently from and assessed more negatively than skeletal Class I patients in direct face-to-face interaction.
Method: The eye movements of 24 randomly recruited evaluators were analyzed with a noninvasive, infrared high-speed camera while looking at 18 standardized frontal photographs of adult orthognathic Class III patients and 18 photographs of adults with skeletal Class I relationships as controls. Additionally, all images were assessed for appearance, symmetry, and facial expression.
Results: The Class III patients were rated significantly more negatively in terms of appearance, symmetry, and facial expression than the Class I individuals. The eye movement data revealed that orthognathic patients were appraised differently from the Class I individuals, with fewer fixations in the face center, especially around the mouth.
Conclusion: Skeletal Class III patients were characterized as less attractive than Class I individuals. Faces of Class III patients were visually perceived with different eye movements. These differences in visual perception are described for the first time in the present study. Although they were small, they are an indication of an objectively different perception of faces that are rated subjectively as less attractive and more asymmetric and exhibiting a more negative expression.

Keywords: orthognathic patients, skeletal Class III occlusion, asymmetry, face perception, eye tracking