Forthcoming Workshop

Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Workshop: Methodological advances in interactive social gaze research: From the lab to the real world. University College London, 12-13 February 2018

From antiquity to today, scientists have acknowledged the importance of eye-gaze in understanding human social behaviour. Whether someone looks at people or objects, attractive or angry faces, and how often or how long they fixate on them can tell us a lot about their mental state, motivation and social behaviours. As gaze behaviour is generally automatic, it provides a reliable and objective measure of affective state, behavioural intentions and subjective social preferences.

Traditional studies of social gaze behaviour have used extremely controlled and artificial laboratory settings, which lack  generalization to the complex world we live in. However, a recent theoretical account proposes that in the real world eye gaze has a dual function: the eyes both seek out useful information from the environment (an encoding function) and can reveal one’s perceptual states to others (a signalling function). Understanding the dual function of social eye gaze and its impact on socio-cognitive processes can e extremely valuable to decipher complex human interactions, but at the same time poses new theoretical and methodological challenges.

This 2-day event aims to bring together researchers from different backgrounds to discuss novel theoretical and methodological frameworks that can channel the complexity of the dual function of eye gaze in the real world into a coherent approach. It is hoped that this discussion will outline clear directions for future research and help advance cognitive theories of human social interactions.

Organisers: Indu Dubey, Roser Canigueral and Alexandra Georgescu

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