ABSTRACT: Direct eye gaze is a potent stimulus in social interactions and is often associated with interest and approach orientation. Yet, there is remarkable variability in the range of gaze lines that people accept as being direct. A measure that is frequently used to quantify the range of gaze angles within which an observer assumes mutual gaze is the cone of direct gaze (CoDG). While individual differences in CoDG have often been examined, studies that systematically investigate the stability of an observers' CoDG over time are scarce. In two experiments, we measured the CoDG using an established paradigm and repeated the measurement after 5 min and/or after 1 week. We found high inter-individual variation, but high agreement within participants (ICCs between 0.649 and 0.855). We conclude that the CoDG can be seen as a rather stable measure, much like a personality trait.
Project description:The cone of direct gaze refers to the range of gaze deviations an observer accepts as looking directly at them. Previous experiments have calculated the width of the cone of direct gaze using the gaze deviations actually presented to the observer, however, there is considerable evidence that observers actually perceive gaze to be systematically more deviated than actually presented. Here, we examine the width of the cone of direct gaze in units of perceived gaze deviation. In doing so, we are able to disambiguate differences in width both within and between observers that are due to differences in their perception of gaze and due to differences in what observers consider to be looking at them. We suggest that this line of inquiry can offer further insight into the perception of gaze direction, and how this perception may differ in clinical populations.
Project description:<b>Objectives: </b>The ability to process information about eye gaze and its use for nonverbal communication is foundational to human social interactions. We developed and validated a database of stimuli that are optimized to investigate the perception and referential understanding of shifts in eye gaze.<br><br><b>Methods: </b>The 245 Gaze Perception stimuli are digital photographs that test the ability to estimate and interpret eye gaze trajectory. The 82 Gaze Following stimuli are digital videos that measure the ability to follow and interpret eye gaze shifts online. Both stimuli were designed for a 4-alternative forced choice paradigm (4AFC) in which the participant identifies the gazed-at object.<br><br><b>Results: </b>Each stimulus was validated by independent raters and only included if the endorsement of the correct item was ?75%. Finally, we provided timestamps for 19 40-second video segments from adolescent-oriented entertainment movies that are matched on several factors. These segments involve social interactions with eye gaze shifts and can be used to measure visual social attention.<br><br><b>Conclusions: </b>This database will be an excellent resource for researchers interested in studying the developmental, behavioral, and/or neural mechanisms supporting the perception and interpretation of eye gaze cues.
Project description:Previous research using averted (e.g., leftward or rightward) gaze indicates that gaze perception requires a focus of attention. However, direct gaze, compared with averted gaze, is processed in the brain preferentially and enhances cognitive functions. Thus, it is necessary to use direct gaze to investigate whether gaze perception is possible without focused attention. We conducted a dual-task paradigm in which attention was drawn away from gaze. Results showed performance on gaze-direction discrimination (direct vs. averted gaze) in the dual-task condition was only slightly lower than in the single-task condition; participants were able to discriminate direct from averted gaze without focusing their attention in a similar manner to when they did focus their attention. In contrast, when participants discriminated between averted gazes (leftward and rightward), performance dropped to near-chance levels. It was concluded that gaze perception does not require a focus of attention for direct gaze.
Project description:Gaze conveys emotional information, and humans present sensitivity to its direction from the earliest days of life. Bipolar disorder is a disease characterized by fluctuating states of emotional and cognitive dysregulation. To explore the role of attentional control on face processing in bipolar patients (BP) we used gaze direction as an emotion modulation parameter in a two-back Working Memory (WM) task while high-density EEG data were acquired. Since gaze direction influences emotional attributions to faces with neutral expressions as well, we presented neutral faces with direct and averted gaze. Nineteen euthymic BP and a sample of age- and gender-matched controls were examined. In BP we observed diminished P200 and augmented P300 evoked responses, differentially modulated by non-repeated or repeated faces, as well as by gaze direction. BP showed a reduced P200 amplitude, significantly stronger for faces with direct gaze than averted gaze. Source localization of P200 indicated decreased activity in sensory-motor regions and frontal areas suggestive of abnormal affective processing of neutral faces. The present study provides neurophysiological evidence for abnormal gaze processing in BP and suggests dysfunctional processing of direct eye contact as a prominent characteristic of bipolar disorder.
Project description:When infants and adults communicate, they exchange social signals of availability and communicative intention such as eye gaze. Previous research indicates that when communication is successful, close temporal dependencies arise between adult speakers' and listeners' neural activity. However, it is not known whether similar neural contingencies exist within adult-infant dyads. Here, we used dual-electroencephalography to assess whether direct gaze increases neural coupling between adults and infants during screen-based and live interactions. In experiment 1 (n = 17), infants viewed videos of an adult who was singing nursery rhymes with (i) direct gaze (looking forward), (ii) indirect gaze (head and eyes averted by 20°), or (iii) direct-oblique gaze (head averted but eyes orientated forward). In experiment 2 (n = 19), infants viewed the same adult in a live context, singing with direct or indirect gaze. Gaze-related changes in adult-infant neural network connectivity were measured using partial directed coherence. Across both experiments, the adult had a significant (Granger) causal influence on infants' neural activity, which was stronger during direct and direct-oblique gaze relative to indirect gaze. During live interactions, infants also influenced the adult more during direct than indirect gaze. Further, infants vocalized more frequently during live direct gaze, and individual infants who vocalized longer also elicited stronger synchronization from the adult. These results demonstrate that direct gaze strengthens bidirectional adult-infant neural connectivity during communication. Thus, ostensive social signals could act to bring brains into mutual temporal alignment, creating a joint-networked state that is structured to facilitate information transfer during early communication and learning.
Project description:Direct gaze has been shown to be a particularly important social cue, being preferentially processed even when unconsciously perceived. Results from several visual search tasks further suggest that direct gaze modulates attention, showing a faster orientation to faces perceived as looking toward us. The present study aimed to analyze putative modulation of spatial attention by eye gaze direction in patients with unilateral neglect. Eight right hemisphere stroke patients with neglect performed a target cancelation paradigm. Patients were instructed to cross all open-eyed pictures amidst closed eyed distractors. Target images were either in direct or averted gaze. Participants performed significantly better when observing targets with direct gaze supporting the hypothesis that this gaze direction captures attention. These findings further suggest that perception of direct gaze is able to diminish the visuospatial impairment seen in neglect patients.
Project description:Face gaze is a fundamental non-verbal behaviour and can be assessed using eye-tracking glasses. Methodological guidelines are lacking on which measure to use to determine face gaze. To evaluate face gaze patterns we compared three measures: duration, frequency and dwell time. Furthermore, state of the art face gaze analysis requires time and manual effort. We tested if face gaze patterns in the first 30, 60 and 120 s predict face gaze patterns in the remaining interaction. We performed secondary analyses of mobile eye-tracking data of 16 internal medicine physicians in consultation with 100 of their patients. Duration and frequency of face gaze were unrelated. The lack of association between duration and frequency suggests that research may yield different results depending on which measure of face gaze is used. Dwell time correlates both duration and frequency. Face gaze during the first seconds of the consultations predicted face gaze patterns of the remaining consultation time (R<sup>2</sup> 0.26 to 0.73). Therefore, face gaze during the first minutes of the consultations can be used to predict face gaze patterns over the complete interaction. Researchers interested to study face gaze may use these findings to make optimal methodological choices.
Project description:The paper investigates the use of gaze along with deictics and embodied pointing to accomplish reference and joint attention in naturally occurring social interaction. It assumes that deixis, in its primordial use in face-to-face interaction, is an embodied phenomenon that involves gestural pointing as well as visual perception, thus giving rise to recurring gaze practices of the participants. The analysis draws on a model of the interactional organization of deictic reference and joint attention that serves as a sequential framework for investigating the functions of eye gaze. The analysis focuses on two meta-perceptive practices: gaze following and gaze monitoring. It shows that the use of these practices in naturally occurring social activities is context dependent, positionally sensitive, tied to participant roles, and temporally fine-tuned to the stream of the participants' verbal and embodied conduct. The sequential analysis of these practices further documents that meta-perceptive gaze practices contribute to the constitution of joint attention as mutually known by the participants. The data for this study were recorded with two pairs of mobile eye tracking glasses and an external camera. Methodologically situated within the framework of conversation analysis and interactional linguistics where video recording is used, the study breaks new ground by employing a technology almost exclusively applied in experimental frameworks to record ordinary social activities "in the wild." In striving for ecologically valid and precise eye gaze data, it also contributes to a refinement of concepts developed in experimental paradigms by adapting them to qualitative research within the field of multimodal conversation analysis and interactional linguistics.
Project description:Many studies have investigated the physical cues that influence face preferences. By contrast, relatively few studies have investigated the effects of facial cues to the direction and valence of others' social interest (i.e. gaze direction and facial expressions) on face preferences. Here we found that participants demonstrated stronger preferences for direct gaze when judging the attractiveness of happy faces than that of disgusted faces, and that this effect of expression on the strength of attraction to direct gaze was particularly pronounced for judgements of opposite-sex faces (study 1). By contrast, no such opposite-sex bias in preferences for direct gaze was observed when participants judged the same faces for likeability (study 2). Collectively, these findings for a context-sensitive opposite-sex bias in preferences for perceiver-directed smiles, but not perceiver-directed disgust, suggest gaze preference functions, at least in part, to facilitate efficient allocation of mating effort, and evince adaptive design in the perceptual mechanisms that underpin face preferences.
Project description:Direct gaze is a crucial signal in human social communication, which is known to attract visual attention and modulate a wide range of behaviours. The present study investigated whether direct gaze facilitates rapid orienting to faces, which is important for adaptive on-line communication, and its neural correlates. Fifteen participants performed a rapid orienting task, in which they were instructed to saccade to peripherally presented buildings or faces containing direct or averted gaze as quickly as possible. Electroencephalographic recordings were made during the task. Shorter express saccade latencies were found for faces with direct gaze, compared to averted gaze or buildings, while no significant difference was found between faces with averted gaze and buildings. Furthermore, saccade-locked event-related potential (ERP) amplitudes in parieto-occipital areas discriminated faces with direct gaze from buildings and faces with averted gaze corroborating behavioural results. These results show that detection of direct gaze facilitates rapid orienting to faces.