Brief Report

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 1061-1066

First online:

Gaze cuing and affective judgments of objects: I like what you look at

  • Andrew P. BaylissAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Wales Email author 
  • , Matthew A. PaulAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Wales
  • , Peter R. CannonAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Wales
  • , Steven P. TipperAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, University of Wales

Abstract

When we see another person look somewhere, we automatically attend to the same location in space. Thisjoint attention emerges early in life and has a great impact on social interactions in development and in everyday adult life. The direction of another’s gaze indicates what object is of current interest, which may be the target for a subsequent action. In this study, we found that objects that are looked at by other people are liked more than objects that do not receive the attention of other people (Experiment 1). This suggests that observing averted gaze can have an impact on the affective appraisals of objects in the environment. This liking effect was absent when an arrow was used to cue attention (Experiment 2). This underlines the importance of other people’s interactions with objects for generating our own impressions of such stimuli in the world.