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The Role of the Mirror Neuron System in the Eye Gaze Cuing Effect

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Description: Observing the eye gaze of another can produce involuntary shifts of attention in the same direction, a phenomenon referred to as the eye gaze cuing effect . The current study explored the hypothesis that the eye gaze cuing effect reflects mirror neuron activation without the inhibition that prevents overt imitation. Subjects participated in a standard eye gaze cuing task, but in critical conditions were required to maintain eye fixation above or below the center of the screen. It was hypothesized that maintaining a new fixation would "tie up" mirror neurons associated attentional movements, thereby reducing the eye gaze cuing effect for cues that appear at the new fixation locations. Contrary to predictions, significant gaze cuing effects were found regardless of whether maintenance of a new fixation location was required. There was, however, a non-significant trend toward a reduced effect when the gaze cue appeared at bottom location.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work