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    Physiological arousal explains infant gaze following in various social contexts

    Ishikawa, M. and Senju, Atsushi and Kato, M. and Itakura, S. (2022) Physiological arousal explains infant gaze following in various social contexts. Royal Society Open Science 9 (8), p. 220592. ISSN 2054-5703.

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    Gaze-following is fundamental to central aspects of human sociocognitive development, such as acquiring language and cultural learning. Studies have shown that infant gaze-following is not a simple reflexive orientation to an adult’s eye movement. In contrast, infants adaptively modulate gaze-following behaviour depending on the social context. However, arguably, the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying contextual modulation of gaze-following remain somewhat unexplored. In this study, we tested the proposition about whether the contextual modulation of infant gaze-following is mediated by the infant’s heart rate, which indicates infant’s physiological arousal. Forty-one 6- to 9-month-old infants participated in this study, and infants observed either a reliable face, which looked towards the location of an object or, an unreliable face, which looked away from the location of an object. Thereafter, the infants watched a video of the same model making eye contact or not making any ostensive signals, before shifting their gaze towards one of the two objects. We revealed that reliability and eye contact acted independently to increase heart rate, which then fully mediates the effects of these social cues on the frequency of gaze-following. Results suggest that each social cue independently enhances physiological arousal, which then accumulatively predicts the likelihood of infant gaze-following behaviour.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Eye Contact, Reliability, Gaze Following, Heart Rate, Social Decision-Making
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Mitsuhiko Ishikawa
    Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2022 14:40
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:17


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