The N170 event-related potential differentiates congruent and incongruent gaze responses in gaze leading

Lisa Stephenson, S. Gareth Edwards, Natacha Luri, Louis Renoult, Andrew Bayliss

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To facilitate social interactions, humans need to process the responses that other people make to their actions, including eye movements that could establish joint attention. Here, we investigated the neurophysiological correlates of the processing of observed gaze responses following the participants’ own eye movement. These observed gaze responses could either establish, or fail to establish, joint attention. We implemented a gaze leading paradigm in which participants made a saccade from an on-screen face to an object, followed by the on-screen face either making a congruent or incongruent gaze shift. An N170 event-related potential was elicited by the peripherally located gaze shift stimulus. Critically, the N170 was greater for joint attention than non-joint gaze both when task-irrelevant (Experiment 1) and task-relevant (Experiment 2). These data suggest for the first time that the neurocognitive system responsible for structural encoding of face stimuli is affected by the establishment of participant-initiated joint attention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479–486
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number4
Early online date25 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • N170
  • event-related potential
  • gaze leading
  • joint attention

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