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Time estimation during mutual eye gaze

Faculty Advisor




eye contact, attention

Abstract (summary)

Eye contact requires attention both when we send and receive gaze signals. Previous research suggests that when one is attending to something their perception of time is altered, such that time passes by more slowly while watching a pot boil. The disruption of time perception has been shown to happen during face-to-face eye contact but has also been observed (albeit to a lesser extent) if one person is looking at another or being looked at by another [Jarick et al., 2016]. Here, we aimed to tease apart whether eye contact is more attention-capturing when we are sending signals during mutual gaze or receiving the gaze signal, or both. This will be investigated by having pairs of participants (sitting side-by-side) make subjective time estimates of 40, 60, and 80 seconds during the participation of four gaze trials: looking away from one another (baseline), looking at the profile of their partner, being looked at by their partner and making eye contact. If attention is equally attributed to sending and receiving signals, we predict that the degree to which time estimation is disrupted during the profile and looked at trials will sum to the disruption found during eye contact trials. Alternatively, if attention is captured more by sending or receiving gaze signals, then we should see time estimation more disrupted in either the profile or looked at trials. This research will allow us to further understand how attention is allocated during face-to-face eye contact in the wild.

Publication Information



Presented on April 24, 2017 at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Item Type

Student Presentation




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