Limits...
The duality of gaze: eyes extract and signal social information during sustained cooperative and competitive dyadic gaze.

Jarick M, Kingstone A - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: However, evolutionary theory holds that humans did not develop a high contrast morphology simply to use the eyes of others as attentional cues; rather they sacrificed camouflage for communication, that is, to signal their thoughts and intentions to others.In a single simple study we show experimentally that the effect of eye contact can be quickly and profoundly altered merely by having participants, who had never met before, play a game in a cooperative or competitive manner.Those who had played the game cooperatively found this terribly difficult to do, repeatedly talking and breaking gaze.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neurocognition of Attention and Perception Lab, Department of Psychology, MacEwan University , Edmonton, AB, Canada.

ABSTRACT
In contrast to non-human primate eyes, which have a dark sclera surrounding a dark iris, human eyes have a white sclera that surrounds a dark iris. This high contrast morphology allows humans to determine quickly and easily where others are looking and infer what they are attending to. In recent years an enormous body of work has used photos and schematic images of faces to study these aspects of social attention, e.g., the selection of the eyes of others and the shift of attention to where those eyes are directed. However, evolutionary theory holds that humans did not develop a high contrast morphology simply to use the eyes of others as attentional cues; rather they sacrificed camouflage for communication, that is, to signal their thoughts and intentions to others. In the present study we demonstrate the importance of this by taking as our starting point the hypothesis that a cornerstone of non-verbal communication is the eye contact between individuals and the time that it is held. In a single simple study we show experimentally that the effect of eye contact can be quickly and profoundly altered merely by having participants, who had never met before, play a game in a cooperative or competitive manner. After the game participants were asked to make eye contact for a prolonged period of time (10 min). Those who had played the game cooperatively found this terribly difficult to do, repeatedly talking and breaking gaze. In contrast, those who had played the game competitively were able to stare quietly at each other for a sustained period. Collectively these data demonstrate that when looking at the eyes of a real person one both acquires and signals information to the other person. This duality of gaze is critical to non-verbal communication, with the nature of that communication shaped by the relationship between individuals, e.g., cooperative or competitive.

No MeSH data available.


Example of the eye contact phase of the experiment. Participants were seated in close proximity, akin to sitting on a bus or next to someone in a classroom.
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Figure 2: Example of the eye contact phase of the experiment. Participants were seated in close proximity, akin to sitting on a bus or next to someone in a classroom.

Mentions: After the puzzle game, participants were asked to relocate to a different section of the room and sit next to one another (about one foot between them). They were instructed to make eye contact for as long as they could within a 10-min period and it was emphasized that they were not to “cheat,” e.g., by closing their eyes or looking at another part of the partner’s face. If they broke eye contact, they were to tell the experimenter and just start again until the 10-min had elapsed. There was no penalty for breaking eye contact (save for the fact that it extended the total time required to accumulate a total of 10 min of eye contact time) and the experimenter was very patient with participants when they did break eye contact. Participants had to stay still in their seats and only turned their head toward their partner to make eye contact. We reasoned that having participants sit side-by-side would maximize the physical proximity between them in a natural way (e.g., akin to sitting on a bus) and ensure that when their heads were turned they would be very close to one another (see Figure 2). Because a head turn of this nature is effortful, and as such there is no question that the act is anything but volitional, we reasoned that it would serve only to further enhance the gaze signal. These were the only limitations for participants and they were otherwise free to talk, smile, laugh, etc.


The duality of gaze: eyes extract and signal social information during sustained cooperative and competitive dyadic gaze.

Jarick M, Kingstone A - Front Psychol (2015)

Example of the eye contact phase of the experiment. Participants were seated in close proximity, akin to sitting on a bus or next to someone in a classroom.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4585076&req=5

Figure 2: Example of the eye contact phase of the experiment. Participants were seated in close proximity, akin to sitting on a bus or next to someone in a classroom.
Mentions: After the puzzle game, participants were asked to relocate to a different section of the room and sit next to one another (about one foot between them). They were instructed to make eye contact for as long as they could within a 10-min period and it was emphasized that they were not to “cheat,” e.g., by closing their eyes or looking at another part of the partner’s face. If they broke eye contact, they were to tell the experimenter and just start again until the 10-min had elapsed. There was no penalty for breaking eye contact (save for the fact that it extended the total time required to accumulate a total of 10 min of eye contact time) and the experimenter was very patient with participants when they did break eye contact. Participants had to stay still in their seats and only turned their head toward their partner to make eye contact. We reasoned that having participants sit side-by-side would maximize the physical proximity between them in a natural way (e.g., akin to sitting on a bus) and ensure that when their heads were turned they would be very close to one another (see Figure 2). Because a head turn of this nature is effortful, and as such there is no question that the act is anything but volitional, we reasoned that it would serve only to further enhance the gaze signal. These were the only limitations for participants and they were otherwise free to talk, smile, laugh, etc.

Bottom Line: However, evolutionary theory holds that humans did not develop a high contrast morphology simply to use the eyes of others as attentional cues; rather they sacrificed camouflage for communication, that is, to signal their thoughts and intentions to others.In a single simple study we show experimentally that the effect of eye contact can be quickly and profoundly altered merely by having participants, who had never met before, play a game in a cooperative or competitive manner.Those who had played the game cooperatively found this terribly difficult to do, repeatedly talking and breaking gaze.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neurocognition of Attention and Perception Lab, Department of Psychology, MacEwan University , Edmonton, AB, Canada.

ABSTRACT
In contrast to non-human primate eyes, which have a dark sclera surrounding a dark iris, human eyes have a white sclera that surrounds a dark iris. This high contrast morphology allows humans to determine quickly and easily where others are looking and infer what they are attending to. In recent years an enormous body of work has used photos and schematic images of faces to study these aspects of social attention, e.g., the selection of the eyes of others and the shift of attention to where those eyes are directed. However, evolutionary theory holds that humans did not develop a high contrast morphology simply to use the eyes of others as attentional cues; rather they sacrificed camouflage for communication, that is, to signal their thoughts and intentions to others. In the present study we demonstrate the importance of this by taking as our starting point the hypothesis that a cornerstone of non-verbal communication is the eye contact between individuals and the time that it is held. In a single simple study we show experimentally that the effect of eye contact can be quickly and profoundly altered merely by having participants, who had never met before, play a game in a cooperative or competitive manner. After the game participants were asked to make eye contact for a prolonged period of time (10 min). Those who had played the game cooperatively found this terribly difficult to do, repeatedly talking and breaking gaze. In contrast, those who had played the game competitively were able to stare quietly at each other for a sustained period. Collectively these data demonstrate that when looking at the eyes of a real person one both acquires and signals information to the other person. This duality of gaze is critical to non-verbal communication, with the nature of that communication shaped by the relationship between individuals, e.g., cooperative or competitive.

No MeSH data available.