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The eye contact effect: impact of perceived gaze direction on social cognition

ContributorsCavelti, Silvia
Master program titleMaîtrise universitaire en psychologie
Defense date2017

The perception of another's gaze immediately attracts our attention, particularly if focused on us. The present study investigated how social judgments are influenced by eye contact. Specifically, it looked at how direct gaze contact, a highly salient social stimulus, influences the gender categorization process. Participants aged between 17 and 28 viewed facial photographs that varied in the degree of eye gaze deviation from the observer. Their task was to indicate, whether each face was male or female. Response times were measured for each degree of gaze deviation. It was hypothesized that direct gaze contact, given its social importance, would facilitate the categorical knowledge accessibility (gender judgments) compared to gaze that was directed away from the observer. The results only partially confirmed our hypotheses. These findings are discussed regarding potential issues with the experimental paradigm. Above all, the validity of measuring eye contact with photographic stimuli has to be critically considered.

Research group
Citation (ISO format)
CAVELTI, Silvia. The eye contact effect: impact of perceived gaze direction on social cognition. 2017.
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Master thesis
  • PID : unige:98844

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Creation11/10/2017 10:34:00 AM
First validation11/10/2017 10:34:00 AM
Update time04/27/2023 2:39:18 PM
Status update04/27/2023 2:39:18 PM
Last indexation08/30/2023 5:11:15 PM
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