A new look at gaze: Preschool children's understanding of eye-direction

Doherty, Martin J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4314-7892 and Anderson, James R. (1999) A new look at gaze: Preschool children's understanding of eye-direction. Cognitive Development, 14 (4). pp. 549-571. ISSN 0885-2014

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This study challenges the consensus view that children can judge what someone is looking at from infancy. In the first experiment 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old children were asked to judge what a person in a drawing was looking at and which of two people was "looking at" them. Only 6% of 2-year-olds and young 3-year-olds passed both gaze-direction tasks, but over 70% passed an analogous point-direction task. Most older 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds passed all three tasks. Experiment 2 compared children's ability to judge what the experimenter was looking at with performance on the picture tasks. Three-year-olds performed significantly worse than 4-year-olds on the real life and picture gaze tasks. Performances on the two types of gaze task were highly correlated. Experiment 3 included stimuli with the additional cue of head-direction. Even the younger children performed well on these stimuli. These results suggest that, regardless of task format, children cannot judge what someone is looking at from eye-direction alone until the age of 3 years. Weaknesses in the evidence supporting the consensus view are highlighted and discussed.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > UEA Experimental Philosophy Group
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2015 12:01
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 10:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/54884
DOI: 10.1016/s0885-2014(99)00019-2

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