As compared with other primates, humans have especially visible eyes (e.g., white sclera). One hypothesis is that this feature of human eyes evolved to make it easier for conspecifics to follow an individual's gaze direction in close-range joint attentional and communicative interactions, which would seem to imply especially cooperative (mututalistic) conspecifics. In the current study, we tested one aspect of this cooperative eye hypothesis by comparing the gaze following behavior of great apes to that of human infants. A human experimenter "looked" to the ceiling either with his eyes only, head only (eyes closed), both head and eyes, or neither. Great apes followed gaze to the ceiling based mainly on the human's head direction (although eye direction played some role as well). In contrast, human infants relied almost exclusively on eye direction in these same situations. These results demonstrate that humans are especially reliant on eyes in gaze following situations, and thus, suggest that eyes evolved a new social function in human evolution, most likely to support cooperative (mututalistic) social interactions.

(2007). Reliance on head versus eyes in the gaze following of great apes and human infants: the cooperative eye hypothesis [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF HUMAN EVOLUTION. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/215728

Reliance on head versus eyes in the gaze following of great apes and human infants: the cooperative eye hypothesis

Lehmann, H.;
2007

Abstract

As compared with other primates, humans have especially visible eyes (e.g., white sclera). One hypothesis is that this feature of human eyes evolved to make it easier for conspecifics to follow an individual's gaze direction in close-range joint attentional and communicative interactions, which would seem to imply especially cooperative (mututalistic) conspecifics. In the current study, we tested one aspect of this cooperative eye hypothesis by comparing the gaze following behavior of great apes to that of human infants. A human experimenter "looked" to the ceiling either with his eyes only, head only (eyes closed), both head and eyes, or neither. Great apes followed gaze to the ceiling based mainly on the human's head direction (although eye direction played some role as well). In contrast, human infants relied almost exclusively on eye direction in these same situations. These results demonstrate that humans are especially reliant on eyes in gaze following situations, and thus, suggest that eyes evolved a new social function in human evolution, most likely to support cooperative (mututalistic) social interactions.
articolo
Tomasello, M.; Hare, B.; Lehmann, H.; Call, J.
(2007). Reliance on head versus eyes in the gaze following of great apes and human infants: the cooperative eye hypothesis [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF HUMAN EVOLUTION. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/215728
File allegato/i alla scheda:
File Dimensione del file Formato  
HumanEvolution.pdf

Solo gestori di archivio

Versione: publisher's version - versione editoriale
Licenza: Licenza default Aisberg
Dimensione del file 165.15 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
165.15 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri
Pubblicazioni consigliate

Caricamento pubblicazioni consigliate

Aisberg ©2008 Servizi bibliotecari, Università degli studi di Bergamo | Terms of use/Condizioni di utilizzo

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10446/215728
Citazioni
  • Scopus 279
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 247
social impact