Abstract # 60:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 06:30 PM-09:00 PM: Session 5 (Mission Bay Ballroom CDE) Poster Presentation


S. Bower, A. Paukner and S. J. Suomi
Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, NIH Animal Center, P.O. Box 529, Poolesville, Maryland 20837, USA

Gaze following is a widespread experimental paradigm. Typically, an experimenter who has the attention of a subject (e.g. a human infant or nonhuman primate) shifts his or her gaze away from the subject and the subject is observed for subsequent gaze shifts in the same direction. Despite its broad use, methodology for gaze following varies widely. Perhaps the most important variation in methodology is the evaluation criterion for gaze following responses. We tested gaze following behavior in a group [N=13] of captive brown capuchins (Cebus apella) using two different coding criteria for gaze following responses commonly found in the literature. Gaze cues were given for a 10 second duration. In method one, all gazes in the target direction during the trial were scored. In method two, a positive response was only recorded for a gaze in the target direction immediately following the first gaze to the experimenter. Method one yielded significant gaze following behavior, while method two showed no significant gaze following [t-tests, α=0.05]. These divergent results argue strongly for a standard set of gaze following response criteria and call into question the validity of comparisons made between gaze following studies that used different response criteria.