Hockney_edited

An ESRC funded project

SOCIAL ATTENTION AND AGEING

ABOUT SOCIAL ATTENTION AND AGEING

An Economic and Social Research Council Funded Project

The Social Cognition and Ageing lab group has been set up to explore three main objectives: 

- To test the role of perceptual/cognitive and motivational mechanisms in age differences in following eye gaze, using novel experimental manipulations. 

- To explore how older adults' differential use of gaze cues extend to the processing of complex social scenes and influence real social interactions. 

- To establish how gaze following is related to broader social functioning in older adults. 

This all sounds very technical, so a more detailed explanation of these objectives, as well as updates about our experiments, can be found in the "Projects" section of the website. 

OVERVIEW OF PROJECTS

Previous and ongoing experiments

As a busy lab group, the Social Cognition and Ageing project has multiple avenues of research currently ongoing. While the experiments may vary, each is designed to further our understanding of the impact of ageing on social cognition.

Below is a brief explanation of a few of our current or ongoing projects. You can find out more about them by clicking "tell me more". 

AGEING AND GAZE FOLLOWING

January - May, 2018

Both young and old participants are asked to complete a typical gaze following task that uses photographs of faces and schematic representations of faces looking to the left or to the right. During the task, participant's eyes are tracked in order to identify different viewing strategies towards the presented faces, or eye movement errors as a result of in-congruent gaze signals, between young and old participants.

THE ROLE OF WORKING MEMORY AND AGE EFFECTS

To be arranged

Gaze following is understood to be an automatic and reflexive process. Despite this, older participants don't tend to follow gaze like young participants. If older participants are managing to inhibit gaze following, then increasing their cognitive workload will make such inhibition more difficult. Dual tasks are often used to increase cognitive load, requiring participants to complete two tasks simultaneously.

THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL FAMILIARITY

To be arranged

Socioemotional selectivity theory predicts that older adults will show increased gaze following for people they know compared to strangers. However, for younger participants this effect would be much smaller. Usually in gaze following experiments participants only see pictures of strangers, generated from standardised databases. Therefore, for this experiment we would need to create images of people that the participants know and interact with regularly that we could then present to them during the experiment.

News and Events

+44(0) 1224 274 457

School of Psychology,
William Guild Building,
University of Aberdeen,
King's College,
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX

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