The owl and the pussycat: Gaze cues and visuospatial orienting
Coauthor(s): S. Quadflieg, C. Neil Macrae.
Adobe Acrobat PDF
Recent research has shown that nonpredictive gaze cues trigger reflexive shifts in attention toward the
looked-at location. But just how generalizable is this spatial cuing effect? In particular, are people especially
tuned to gaze cues provided by conspecifics, or can comparable shifts in visual attention be triggered by
other cue providers and directional cues? To investigate these issues, we used a standard cuing paradigm
to compare the attentional orienting produced by different cue providers (i.e., animate vs. inanimate) and
directional cues (i.e., eyes vs. arrows). The results of three experiments revealed that attentional orienting
was insensitive to both the identity of the cue provider and the nature of the triggering cue. However,
compared with arrows, gaze cues prompted a general enhancement in the efficiency of processing operations.
We consider the implications of these findings for accounts of reflexive visual orienting.
Source: Psychonomic Bulletin and Review
Quadflieg, S., Malia Mason, and C. Neil Macrae. "The owl and the pussycat: Gaze cues and visuospatial orienting." Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 11 (2004): 826-831.