Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 71, Issue 2, pp 314–327 | Cite as

Look away! Eyes and arrows engage oculomotor responses automatically

  • Gustav KuhnEmail author
  • Alan Kingstone
Research Articles


The present study investigates how people’s voluntary saccades are influenced by where another person is looking, even when this is counterpredictive of the intended saccade direction. The color of a fixation point instructed participants to make saccades either to the left or right. These saccade directions were either congruent or incongruent with the eye gaze of a centrally presented schematic face. Participants were asked to ignore the eyes, which were congruent only 20% of the time. At short gaze—fixation-cue stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs; 0 and 100 msec), participants made more directional errors on incongruent than on congruent trials. At a longer SOA (900 msec), the pattern tended to reverse. We demonstrate that a perceived eye gaze results in an automatic saccade following the gaze and that the gaze cue cannot be ignored, even when attending to it is detrimental to the task. Similar results were found for centrally presented arrow cues, suggesting that this interference is not unique to gazes.


Congruency Effect Incongruent Trial Saccade Latency Congruent Trial Short SOAs 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of DurhamDurhamU.K.

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