The Effect of Trust on Gaze-Mediated Attentional Orienting
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TrustworthinessTrustGaze-cueingGaze-cueing effectAttentional orienting
Barbato M, Almulla AA and Marotta A (2020) The Effect of Trust on Gaze-Mediated Attentional Orienting. Front. Psychol. 11:1554. [doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01554]
SponsorshipZayed University R19057
The last two decades have witnessed growing interest in the study of social cognition and its multiple facets, including trust. Interpersonal trust is generally understood as the belief that others are not likely to harm you. When meeting strangers, judgments of trustworthiness are mostly based on fast evaluation of facial appearance, unless information about past behavior is available. In the past decade, studies have tried to understand the complex relationship between trust and gaze-cueing of attention (GCA) (i.e., attentional orienting following another person’s gaze). This review will focus on the studies that used a gaze-cueing paradigm to explore this relationship. While the predictivity of the gaze-cue seems to consistently influence trustworthiness judgments, the impact of trust on gaze-cueing is less clear. Four studies found enhanced gazecueing effects with trustworthy faces; one found stronger effects of gaze-cueing with faces associated with undesirable behavior, but only when the observer’s personal evaluations were taken into account. Four studies did not observe an effect of trust on gaze-cueing. Overall, studies have highlighted the complexity of this relationship, suggesting that multiple factors (including age, gender, the characteristics of the observer, and whether or not a threat is perceived) are likely to intervene in the interplay between trust and gaze-triggered attentional orienting. After discussing results in the context of existing theories of gaze-cueing and trust, we conclude that further investigation is needed to better understand this relationship and the contribution of social factors to attentional shifts guided by gaze.