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  Unconscious discrimination of social cues from eye whites in infants

Jessen, S., & Grossmann, T. (2014). Unconscious discrimination of social cues from eye whites in infants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(45), 16208-16213. doi:10.1073/pnas.1411333111.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0023-EC4A-5 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-141A-A
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Jessen, Sarah1, Author              
Grossmann, Tobias1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Early Social Development, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_1356545              

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Free keywords: Infancy; Social perception; Human eye; Subliminal processing; Emotion processing
 Abstract: Human eyes serve two key functions in face-to-face social interactions: they provide cues about a person’s emotional state and attentional focus (gaze direction). Both functions critically rely on the morphologically unique human sclera and have been shown to operate even in the absence of conscious awareness in adults. However, it is not known whether the ability to respond to social cues from scleral information without conscious awareness exists early in human ontogeny and can therefore be considered a foundational feature of human social functioning. In the current study, we used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to show that 7-mo-old infants discriminate between fearful and nonfearful eyes (experiment 1) and between direct and averted gaze (experiment 2), even when presented below the perceptual threshold. These effects were specific to the human sclera and not seen in response to polarity-inverted eyes. Our results suggest that early in ontogeny the human brain detects social cues from scleral information even in the absence of conscious awareness. The current findings support the view that the human eye with its prominent sclera serves critical communicative functions during human social interactions.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2014-07-172014-10-072014-10-272014-11-11
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1411333111
PMID: 25349392
PMC: PMC4234573
Other: Epub 2014
 Degree: -

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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Other : Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.
Source Genre: Journal
 Creator(s):
Affiliations:
Publ. Info: National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 111 (45) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 16208 - 16213 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427230