Human body motion captures visual attention and elicits pupillary dilation

Williams, E. H., Cristino, F. and Cross, E. S. (2019) Human body motion captures visual attention and elicits pupillary dilation. Cognition, 193, 104029. (doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104029) (PMID:31352014)

190856.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.



The social motivation theory proposes that individuals naturally orient their attention to the social world. Research has documented the rewarding value of social stimuli, such as biological motion, to typically developed individuals. Here, we used complementary eye tracking measures to investigate how social motion cues affect attention and arousal. Specifically, we examined whether viewing the human body moving naturally versus mechanically leads to greater attentional engagement and changes in autonomic arousal (as assessed by pupil size measures). Participants completed an attentional disengagement task in two independent experiments, while pupillary responses were recorded. We found that natural, human-like motion produced greater increases in attention and arousal than mechanical motion, whether the moving agent was human or not. These findings contribute an important piece to our understanding of social motivation by demonstrating that human motion is a key social stimulus that engages visual attention and induces autonomic arousal in the viewer.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by funding to E.S.C. from the following bodies: a PhD studentship for E.H.W. from Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, a Future Research Leaders award jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Medical Research Council (ES/K001892/1); a Marie Curie Career Integration award (CIG11-2012-322256); and a European Research Council starting grant (ERC-2015-STG-677270).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Williams, Ms Elin and Cross, Professor Emily
Authors: Williams, E. H., Cristino, F., and Cross, E. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Cognition
ISSN (Online):1873-7838
Published Online:25 July 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Cognition 193:104029
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3039300SOCIAL ROBOTSEmily CrossEuropean Research Council (ERC)N/ANP - Centre for Neuroscience