Citation Langton S, McIntyre AH, Hancock PJB & Leder H (2018) Saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements trigger equivalent gaze-cued orienting effects. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71 (9), pp. 1860-1872. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2017.1362703
Abstract Research has established that a perceived eye gaze produces a concomitant shift in a viewer’s spatial attention in the direction of that gaze. The two experiments reported here investigate the extent to which the nature of the eye movement made by the gazer contributes to this orienting effect. On each trial in these experiments participants were asked to make a speeded response to a target that could appear in a location toward which a centrally presented face had just gazed (a cued target), or in a location that was not the recipient of a gaze (an uncued target). The gaze cues consisted of either fast saccadic eye movements or slower smooth pursuit movements. Cued targets were responded to faster than uncued targets, and this gaze-cued orienting effect was found to be equivalent for each type of gaze shift both when the gazes were un-predictive of target location (Experiment 1) and counterpredictive of target location (Experiment 2). The results offer no support for the hypothesis that motion speed modulates gaze-cued orienting. However, they do suggest that motion of the eyes per se, regardless of its type, may be sufficient to trigger an orienting effect.