Perception of being observed by a speaker alters gaze behavior

Michael J. Kleiman & Elan Barenholtz

Published in Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics

Link to PDF

This project served as my Master’s thesis. While searching for a thesis topic, my advisor and I observed that almost all of the existing research on social gaze behavior used experiments where participants were watching videos of people, even when the purpose of the study was to investigate how people interacted with each other. Of course, the participants all knew they were not interacting with a real person, and so if we wanted to study how people looked at those they were interacting with we needed to either use a head-mounted eye tracker (expensive and difficult to work with) or find another way.

I suggested to my advisor that we record a video that is edited in a such a way to trick half of our participants into thinking they were interacting with a live person, allowing us to use the same exact video with participants who were aware that the video was pre-recorded so we could directly compare between-subjects behavior. And it worked! We found highly significant results.

Below is a link to the poster presented at the 2017 meeting of the Vision Sciences Society