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Understanding the referential nature of looking: infants’ preference for object-directed gaze

Senju, Atsushi and Csibra, Gergely and Johnson, Mark H. (2008) Understanding the referential nature of looking: infants’ preference for object-directed gaze. Cognition 108 (2), pp. 303-319. ISSN 0010-0277.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2008.02.009

Abstract

In four experiments, we investigated whether 9-month-old infants are sensitive to the relationship between gaze direction and object location and whether this sensitivity depends on the presence of communicative cues like eye contact. Infants observed a face, which repeatedly shifted its eyes either toward, or away from, unpredictably appearing objects. We found that they looked longer at the face when the gaze shifts were congruent with the location of the object. A second experiment ruled out that this effect was simply due to spatial congruency, while a third and a fourth experiment revealed that a preceding period of eye contact is required to elicit the gaze–object congruency effect. These results indicate that infants at this age can encode eye direction in referential terms in the presence of communication cues and are biased to attend to scenes with object-directed gaze.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cognition, 108(2), August 2008, DOI:10.1016/j.cognition.2008.02.009”
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Eye gaze, face, infant, looking time, social cognition
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2011 08:18
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3911

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