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dc.contributor.authorRamamoorthy, Nayantaraen
dc.description.abstractAnother’s direct gaze, a crucial social cue, is presumed to be attentionally prioritised even in the presence of other gazes. Consistent with this notion is the stare in the crowd effect (SITCE) — the finding that direct gazing eyes are often detected faster and more efficiently from among averted gazing ones than vice versa. An investigation of top-down influences on the SITCE, through pre-cues, revealed two dissociable effects, both in favour of direct gaze – one scaling with set size, unaffected by templates, and likely reflecting noisy parallel processing (Process 1), and the other, independent of set size, selectively applying prior knowledge to speed overall responses (Process 2) – taken as evidence for an obligatory direct gaze prior. Examination of initial saccade patterns to target gaze within this paradigm suggested ‘odd-one-out’ direct gaze does not attract exogenous attention – an averted gaze bias was revealed when task conditions highlighted gaze uniqueness, consistent with Predictive Coding models – rather, task goals may determine how expectation influences perception. Investigation of the mechanism underpinning gaze prioritisation in visual search found evidence for sophisticated socio-cognitive processing rather than simple feature-based templates — search for target eyes gazing at a salient object was more efficient than for eyes gazing away, the effect obscured by a pre-cue to target gaze. Finally, an exploration of whether autistic traits influence SITCE task performance revealed a similar tendency for individuals with higher autistic traits to preferentially select direct gaze targets over averted, both with and without top-down cues guiding attention, suggesting a propensity to apply direct gaze priors at least within the particular context of the SITCE. To conclude, findings from the present thesis reveal that a complex interplay of factors guides attentional prioritisation of direct gaze.en
dc.rightsAll rights reserveden
dc.rightsAll rights reserveden
dc.rightsAll rights reserveden
dc.subjectgaze perceptionen
dc.subjectvisual searchen
dc.subjectattentional prioritisationen
dc.titleAttentional Prioritisation of Another's Direct Gaze: Stimulus, Template, and Expectationen
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)en
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridgeen
dc.publisher.departmentDepartment of Psychology
dc.type.qualificationtitlePhD in Psychologyen
cam.supervisorDavis, Gregory

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