What Is It?
Mutual gaze occurs when two people make eye contact or look into each other’s eyes. Mutual gaze is an important part of social communication and perception of others’ emotion states and is the one of the foundational skills necessary in the development of joint attention (George & Conty, 2008; Morales, Mundy, Crowson, Neal, & Delgado, 2005; Saito et al., 2010; Senju & Johnson, 2009). Mutual gaze has been described as “the most powerful mode of establishing a communicative link between humans” (Farroni, Csibra, Simion, & Johnson, 2002).
When Does It Occur?
From birth, infants are innately motivated to gaze into their caregivers’ eyes. In fact, the field of vision of newborns is approximately the distance required to make eye contact when held by an adult (Stern, Hofer, Haft, & Dore, 1985). Infants prefer to look at faces over other stimuli, especially faces...
References and Readings
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, DSM-IV-TR (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Text revision.Google Scholar
- Morales, M., Mundy, P., Crowson, M. M., Neal, A. R., & Delgado, C. E. F. (2005). Individual differences in infant attention skills, joint attention, and emotion regulation behaviour. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 29, 259–263.Google Scholar
- Stern, D. N., Hofer, L., Haft, W., & Dore, J. (1985). Affect attunement: The sharing of feeling states between mother and infant by means of inter-model fluency. In T. M. Field & N. A. Fox (Eds.), Social perception in infants (pp. 323–378). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar