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Social orienting in gaze leading: a mechanism for shared attention

New UEA Psychology Research on Gaze Leading - Death to Stock Photo

New UEA Psychology research, published this month in Proceedings of the Royal Society B (and covered by Science Magazine), offers new insight into our understanding of social gaze interactions. 

We can follow other people's gaze direction to assess what they are looking at and to guess what they are thinking about. We can also lead other people's gaze, attempting to 'get' them to look at what we are (joint attention) and to think about that same thing (shared attention). 

Our findings illustrate that humans rapidly shift their attention towards someone that follows their gaze, suggesting that we have a mechanism which promotes the elaboration of joint attention into shared attention, which in turn may facilitate on-going social interactions that are fundamental to the way humans communicate.

This research was a collaboration between:

- Gareth Edwards, PhD researcher, UEA

- Lisa Stephenson, MRes student, UEA (who was at the time an undergraduate at UEA)

- Mario Dalmaso, post-doc, University of Padova, Italy (who at the time was a visiting PhD student at UEA)

- Dr. Andrew Bayliss, Senior lecturer, UEA.