Followers are not followed: Observed group interactions modulate subsequent social attention

Francesca Capozzi, Cristina Becchio, Cesco Willemse, Andrew Bayliss

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28 Citations (Scopus)
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We asked whether previous observations of group interactions modulate subsequent social attention episodes. Participants first completed a learning phase with two conditions. In the ‘leader’ condition one of three identities turned her gaze first, followed by the two other faces. In the ‘follower’ condition, one of the identities turned her gaze after the two other faces had first shifted their gaze. Thus, participants observed that some individuals were consistently ‘leaders’ and others ‘followers’ of others’ attention. In the test phase, the faces of ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’ were presented in a gaze cueing paradigm. Remarkably, the ‘followers’ did not elicit gaze cueing. Our data demonstrate that individuals who do not guide group attention in exploring the environment are ineffective social attention directors in later encounters. Thus, the role played in previous group social attention interactions modulates the relative weight assigned to others’ gaze: we ignore the gaze of group followers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-535
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number5
Early online date31 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • social status
  • social learning
  • gaze perception
  • attention

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