Spatial orienting of tactile attention induced by social cues

TitleSpatial orienting of tactile attention induced by social cues
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsSoto-Faraco S, Sinnett S, Alsius A, Kingstone A
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Date Published12/2005

Several studies have established that humans orient their visual attention reflexively in response to social cues such as the direction of someone else's gaze. However, the consequences of this kind of orienting have been addressed only for the visual system. We investigated whether visual social attention cues can induce shifts in tactile attention by combining a central noninformative eye-gaze cue with tactile targets presented to participants' fingertips. Data from speeded detection, speeded discrimination, and signal detection tasks converged on the same conclusion: Eye-gaze-based orienting facilitates the processing of tactile targets at the location of the gazed-at body location. In addition, we examined the effects of other directional cues, such as conventional arrows, and found that they can be equally effective. This is the first demonstration that social attention cues have consequences that reach beyond their own sensory modality.