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Breaking the Fourth Wall of Cognitive Science: Real-World Social Attention and the Dual Function of Gaze

Risko, EF; Richardson, DC; Kingstone, A; (2016) Breaking the Fourth Wall of Cognitive Science: Real-World Social Attention and the Dual Function of Gaze. Current Directions in Psychological Science , 25 (1) pp. 70-74. 10.1177/0963721415617806. Green open access

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Abstract

Research in cognitive science typically places a boundary between participants and the stimuli they are asked to process. While this separation affords experimental control, it can also severely limit the generalizability of the conclusions that are drawn. Here, we review new evidence that some conclusions that have been drawn about social attention do not extend beyond the laboratory. They fundamentally misrepresent how social attention operates in natural social contexts. Critically, these difficulties have led to renewed interest in the dual function of gaze—when in authentic social situations, the eyes both collect information from the environment (an encoding function) and communicate one’s mental states to others (a signaling function)—which traditional social-attention paradigms arguably have failed to capture. We review this recent work and discuss the utility of adopting more naturalistic methods in cognitive science.

Type: Article
Title: Breaking the Fourth Wall of Cognitive Science: Real-World Social Attention and the Dual Function of Gaze
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0963721415617806
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963721415617806
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2016. Reprints and permissions: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav
Keywords: Social attention, gaze, ecological validity
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475722
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