Toddlers' gaze following through attention modulation: Intention is in the eye of the beholder
SourceJournal of Experimental Child Psychology, 116, 2, (2013), pp. 443-452
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
We investigated 20-month-olds' (N = 56) gaze following by presenting toddlers with a female model that displayed either ostensive or no ostensive cues before shifting her gaze laterally toward an object. The results indicated that toddlers reliably followed the model's gaze redirection after mutual eye contact was established but did so equally reliably after the model's eyes had been made salient nonostensively. Moreover, both conditions elicited gaze following more prominently than when children’s attention was initially directed away from the eyes either by specifically accentuating the mouth or by covering the entire face before the model redirected her eyes laterally. These findings suggest that gaze following by toddlers is more likely to be driven by general attention mechanisms than by their appreciation of somebody else’s communicative intent through perceiving eye contact.
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