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The social side of social attention

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In recent years, research has shown that individuals presented with a face showing a task-irrelevant averted gaze, tend to produce covert shifts of attention in the corresponding direction. Despite gaze being an important social signal, only few studies have addressed possible modulations of gaze cueing as a function of social factors. In the talk, I will present results from recent ERP and behavioural investigations with human participants in which my colleagues and I have manipulated emotional expression of the cueing face and social aspects related to the identity of the cueing face and the identity of the participants. Overall, the results seem to support the notion that social variables can influence gaze cueing to a large extent, although these effects are likely context-dependent. Possible implications of the results as regards automaticity of social attention behaviour will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education (CNE) series.

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