Age Differences in Gaze Following: Older Adults Follow Gaze More than Younger Adults When free-viewing Scenes

Eunice G Fernandes* (Corresponding Author), Benjamin W Tatler, Gillian Slessor, Louise H Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research investigated age differences in gaze following with an attentional cueing paradigm where participants view a face with averted gaze, and then respond to a target appearing in a location congruent or incongruent with the gaze cue. However, this paradigm is far removed from the way we use gaze cues in everyday settings. Here we recorded the eye movements of younger and older adults while they freely viewed naturalistic scenes where a person looked at an object or location. Older adults were more likely to fixate and made more fixations to the gazed-at location, compared to younger adults. Our findings suggest that, contrary to what was observed in the traditional gaze-cueing paradigm, in a non-constrained task that uses contextualized stimuli older adults follow gaze as much as or even more than younger adults.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Early online date26 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • gaze following ageing
  • eye movements
  • social attention
  • scene viewing

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