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    The eye contact effect: mechanisms and development

    Senju, Atsushi and Johnson, Mark H. (2009) The eye contact effect: mechanisms and development. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 13 (3), pp. 127-134. ISSN 1364-6613.

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    The ‘eye contact effect’ is the phenomenon that perceived eye contact with another human face modulates certain aspects of the concurrent and/or immediately following cognitive processing. In addition, functional imaging studies in adults have revealed that eye contact can modulate activity in structures in the social brain network, and developmental studies show evidence for preferential orienting towards, and processing of, faces with direct gaze from early in life. We review different theories of the eye contact effect and advance a ‘fast-track modulator’ model. Specifically, we hypothesize that perceived eye contact is initially detected by a subcortical route, which then modulates the activation of the social brain as it processes the accompanying detailed sensory information.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 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 Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(3), March 2009, DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2008.11.009”
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Gaze, eye contact, social brain, amygdala, development
    School: School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2012 10:00
    Last Modified: 09 Jun 2021 12:19


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