BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

The development and neural basis of referential gaze perception

Senju, Atsushi and Johnson, Mark H. and Csibra, Gergely (2006) The development and neural basis of referential gaze perception. Social Neuroscience 1 (3-4), pp. 220-234. ISSN 1747-0919.

4670.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (4MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Infants are sensitive to the referential information conveyed by others’ eye gaze, which could be one of the developmental foundations of theory of mind. To investigate the neural correlates of gaze–object relations, we recorded ERPs from adults and 9-month-old infants while they watched scenes containing gaze shifts either towards or away from the location of a preceding object. In adults, object-incongruent gaze shifts elicited enhanced ERP amplitudes over the occipito-temporal area (N330). In infants, a similar posterior ERP component (N290) was greater for object-incongruent gaze shifts, which suggests that by the age of 9 months infants encode referential information of gaze in a similar way to adults. In addition, in infants we observed an early frontal ERP component (anterior N200), which showed higher amplitude in response to the perception of object-congruent gaze shifts. This component may reflect fast-track processing of socially relevant information, such as the detection of communicative or informative situations, and could form a developmental foundation for attention sharing, social learning and theory of mind.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): infant, eye gaze, face perception, theory of mind, ERP, high-density ERP
School: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Research Centre: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2012 07:32
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 11:12

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item