Potential social interactions are important to social attention

Laidlaw, K. E. W.; Foulsham, T.; Kuhn, Gustav and Kingstone, A.. 2011. Potential social interactions are important to social attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(14), pp. 5548-5553. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Social attention, or how spatial attention is allocated to biologically relevant stimuli, has typically been studied using simplistic paradigms that do not provide any opportunity for social interaction. To study social attention in a complex setting that affords social interaction, we measured participants' looking behavior as they were sitting in a waiting room, either in the presence of a confederate posing as another research participant, or in the presence of a videotape of the same confederate. Thus, the potential for social interaction existed only when the confederate was physically present. Although participants frequently looked at the videotaped confederate, they seldom turned toward or looked at the live confederate. Ratings of participants' social skills correlated with head turns to the live, but not videotaped, confederate. Our results demonstrate the importance of studying social attention within a social context, and suggest that the mere opportunity for social interaction can alter social attention.

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Additional Information:

Times Cited: 7 Laidlaw, Kaitlin E. W. Foulsham, Tom Kuhn, Gustav Kingstone, Alan

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Research Office > REF2014



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Date Deposited:

19 Jun 2013 10:51

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 09:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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