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Eyes keep watch over you! Competition enhances joint attention in females

Eyes keep watch over you! Competition enhances joint attention in females

Acta Psychologica 160: 170-177

The present study investigated if the gaze-cuing effect (i.e., the tendency for observers to respond faster to targets in locations that were cued by others' gaze direction than to not-cued targets) is modulated by the type of relationship (i.e., cooperative or competitive) established during a previous interaction with a cuing face. In two experiments, participants played a series of single-shot games of a modified version of the two-choice Prisoner's Dilemma against eight simulated contenders. They were shown a fictive feedback indicating if the opponents chose to cooperate or compete with them. Opponents' faces were then used as stimuli in a standard gaze-cuing task. In Experiment 1 females classified as average in competitiveness were tested, while in Experiment 2 females classified as high and low in competitiveness were tested. We found that only in females classified as low and average in competitiveness the gaze-cuing effect for competitive contenders was greater than for cooperative contenders. These findings suggest that competitive opponents represent a relevant source of information within the social environment and female observers with low and average levels of competition cannot prevent from keeping their eyes over them.

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Accession: 057851643

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PMID: 26253595

DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2015.07.013

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