Spatial orienting of attention simultaneously cued by automatic social and nonsocial cues

Deanna J. Greene, Eran Zaidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The appearance of a stimulus in the periphery and the direction of another person's eye gaze have both been shown to automatically orient attention toward the stimulus and the gazed-at location, respectively. In the present experiment, we examined the effects of viewing both a peripheral stimulus and an eye gaze stimulus simultaneously in order to determine whether one is "more automatic" (i.e., faster, dominates) than the other and whether the two processes interact. Using a spatial cueing paradigm, we measured latency of localization of a target stimulus that was validly or invalidly cued by an uninformative (i.e., nonpredictive) peripheral cue, an uninformative eye gaze cue, or both simultaneously (double cue). We included a short and a long cue-target interval in order to investigate the early and late facilitatory and inhibitory effects of the two processes. Results demonstrated that when the double cues were consistent with each other (indicating the same target location), the effects, both early and late, were the same as when the peripheral cue was presented alone. When the double cues were inconsistent (indicating opposite target locations), the late effect was the same as the peripheral cue, but the early effect was intermediate between the two types of cues. Our results better support an interactive, rather than an additive relationship between social and nonsocial automatic orienting. The double cue conditions that showed similar effects to the peripheral cues suggest that the peripheral cue dominates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Exogenous orienting
  • Inhibition of return
  • Reflexive attention
  • Social cues
  • Spatial attention


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