Are you looking at me? Eye gaze and person perception

C Neil MacRae, B. M. Hood, Alan Berkeley Milne, A. C. Rowe, M. F. Mason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has highlighted the pivotal role played by gaze detection and interpretation in. the development of social cognition. Extending work of this kind, the present research investigated the effects of eye gaze on basic aspects of the person-perception process, namely, person construal and the extraction of category-related knowledge from semantic memory. It was anticipated that gaze direction would moderate the efficiency of the mental operations through which these social-cognitive products are generated. Specifically, eye gaze was expected to influence both the speed with which targets could be categorized as men and women and the rate at which associated stereotypic material could be accessed from semantic memory. The results of two experiments supported these predictions: Targets with nondeviated (i.e., direct) eye gaze elicited facilitated categorical responses. The implications of these findings for recent treatments of person perception are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-464
Number of pages4
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002


  • Human neural system
  • Human amygdala
  • Face perception
  • Temporal cortex
  • Direction
  • Recognition
  • Stereotypes
  • Activation
  • Attention
  • Neurons


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