Age Differences in Gaze Following: Older Adults Follow Gaze More than Younger Adults When free-viewing Scenes

Eunice G Fernandes* (Corresponding Author), Benjamin W Tatler, Gillian Slessor, Louise H Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Previous research investigated age differences in gaze following with an attentional cueing paradigm where participants view a face with averted gaze, and then respond to a target appearing in a location congruent or incongruent with the gaze cue. However, this paradigm is far removed from the way we use gaze cues in everyday settings. Here we recorded the eye movements of younger and older adults while they freely viewed naturalistic scenes where a person looked at an object or location. Older adults were more likely to fixate and made more fixations to the gazed-at location, compared to younger adults. Our findings suggest that, contrary to what was observed in the traditional gaze-cueing paradigm, in a non-constrained task that uses contextualized stimuli older adults follow gaze as much as or even more than younger adults.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Early online date26 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

We thank Teodor Nikolov, Igne Umbrasaite, Bianca Bianciardi, Sarah Kenny, and Vestina Sciaponaite for assistance with stimuli selection and data collection.
Funding details
This research was supported by Grant RG14082 from the Economic and Social Research Council, awarded to Louise H. Phillips, Benjamin W. Tatler and Julie Henry

Data Availability Statement

Supplemental data for this article can be accessed online at


  • gaze following ageing
  • eye movements
  • social attention
  • scene viewing


Dive into the research topics of 'Age Differences in Gaze Following: Older Adults Follow Gaze More than Younger Adults When free-viewing Scenes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this