“Are you looking at me?” How children’s gaze judgments improve with age

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Mareschal, I. ; Otsuka, Y. ; Clifford, C.W.G. ; Mareschal, Denis (2016)
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1037/dev0000100
  • Subject: psyc
    mesheuropmc: genetic structures

Adults’ judgments of another person’s gaze reflect both sensory (e.g., perceptual) and nonsensory (e.g., decisional) processes. We examined how children’s performance on a gaze categorization task develops over time by varying uncertainty in the stimulus presented to 6- to 11- year-olds (n = 57). We found that younger children responded “direct” over a wider range of gaze deviations. We also found that increasing uncertainty led to an increase in direct responses, across all age groups. A simple model to account for these data revealed that although younger children had a noisier sensory representation of the stimulus, most developmental changes in gaze were because of a change in children’s response criteria (category boundaries). These results suggest that although the core mechanisms for gaze processing are already in place by the age of 6, their development continues across the whole of childhood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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