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Tracking developmental differences in real-world social attention across adolescence, young adulthood and older adulthood

de Lillo, Martina, Foley, Rebecca, Fysh, Matthew, Stimson, Aimee, Bradford, Elisabeth, Ferguson, Heather (2021) Tracking developmental differences in real-world social attention across adolescence, young adulthood and older adulthood. Nature Human Behaviour, . E-ISSN 2397-3374. (doi:10.1038/s41562-021-01113-9) (KAR id:86674)

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Detecting and responding appropriately to social information in one’s environment is a vital part of everyday social interaction. We report two well-powered, pre-registered experiments that examined how social attention develops across the lifespan, comparing adolescents (10-19 years old), young (20-40 years old) and older (60-80 years old) adults. In two real-world tasks, participants were immersed in different social interaction situations – a face-to-face conversation and navigating an environment – and their attention to social and non-social content was recorded using eye-tracking glasses. Results revealed that, compared to young adults, adolescents and older adults attended less to social information (i.e. the face) during face-to-face conversation, and to people when navigating the real-world. Thus, we provide evidence that real-world social attention undergoes age-related change, and these developmental differences might be a key mechanism that influences Theory of Mind among adolescents and older adults, with potential implications for predicting successful social interactions in daily life.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/s41562-021-01113-9
Uncontrolled keywords: Real-life social interactions; social attention; theory of mind; ageing; eye movements
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Heather Ferguson
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2021 13:59 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2021 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Ferguson, Heather:
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