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Adult gaze influences infant attention and object processing: implications for cognitive neuroscience

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2005
JournalEuropean journal of neuroscience
Journal number6
Volume21
Number of pages4
Pages1763-1766
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Infants follow others' gaze toward external objects from early in ontogeny, but whether they use others' gaze in processing information about objects remains unknown. In Experiment 1, 4-month-old infants viewed a video presentation of an adult gazing toward one of two objects. When presented with the same objects alone a second time, infants looked reliably less at the object to which the adult had directly gazed (cued object). This suggests that the uncued object was perceived as more novel than the object previously cued by the adult's gaze. In Experiment 2, adult gaze was not directed towards any object. In this control experiment, infants looked at both objects equally in the test phase. These findings show that adult eye gaze biases infant visual attention and information processing. Implications of the paradigm for cognitive neuroscience are presented and the results are discussed in terms of neural structures and change over ontogeny.