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ERIC Number: EJ902949
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Facial Expressions Modulate the Ontogenetic Trajectory of Gaze-Following among Monkeys
Teufel, Christoph; Gutmann, Anke; Pirow, Ralph; Fischer, Julia
Developmental Science, v13 n6 p913-922 Nov 2010
Gaze-following, the tendency to direct one's attention to locations looked at by others, is a crucial aspect of social cognition in human and nonhuman primates. Whereas the development of gaze-following has been intensely studied in human infants, its early ontogeny in nonhuman primates has received little attention. Combining longitudinal and cross-sectional observational data from Barbary macaques at "La Foret des Singes", we show here that gaze-following among conspecifics develops within the first year of life with a rapid increase between 5 and 6 months, reaching adult levels at 1 year. Sex, rank, and relatedness of the animal whose gaze the subject followed did not affect gaze-following rates. Interestingly, however, the behavior was enhanced in all age classes if a gaze-cue was accompanied by a facial expression. Furthermore, the effect of facial expressions had a modulatory influence on the ontogenetic trajectory of gaze-following, suggesting that it is of functional significance in the development of the behavior. Follow-up analyses revealed that one specific facial expression that is given in response to social interactions between third parties was particularly efficient in eliciting gaze-following responses, indicating the importance of cues that are able to guide the acquisition of social information. Taken together, these results suggest that the development and the operation of gaze-following are tuned to the social and physical characteristics of a species' environment.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A