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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02484

No own-age bias in children’s gaze cueing effects

 Rianne Van Rooijen1*,  Caroline Junge1 and Chantal Kemner1, 2
  • 1Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 2University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands

Sensitivity to another person’s eye-gaze is vital for social and language development. In this eye-tracking study, a group of 74 children (6-14 years old) performed a gaze cueing experiment in which faces cued the location of a peripheral target. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether children’s gaze cueing effects are modulated by the other person’s age. In half of the trials the gaze cue was given by adult models, in the other half of the trials by child models. Regardless of the models’ ages, children displayed an overall gaze cueing effect. However, results showed no indication of an own-age bias in the performance on the gaze cueing task; the gaze cueing effect is similar for both child and adult face cues. These results did not change when we looked at the performance of a subsample of participants (n = 23) who closely matched the age of the child models. Our results do not allow us to disentangle the possibility that children are insensitive to a model’s age or whether they consider models of either age as equally informative. Future research should aim at trying to disentangle these two possibilities.

Keywords: Own-age bias, Children, Attention, Eye-tracking, gaze cueing

Received: 07 Sep 2018; Accepted: 22 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Markus Paulus, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany

Reviewed by:

Stephen V. Shepherd, Rockefeller University, United States
Ruth Ford, Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom
Alexandra Hering, Université de Genève, Switzerland  

Copyright: © 2018 Van Rooijen, Junge and Kemner. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Miss. Rianne Van Rooijen, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands, r.vanrooijen@uu.nl