Gaze Deflection and Temporal Reordering



Here are some demonstrations of the various conditions discussed in the following paper:
Colombatto, C., Chen, Y. -C., & Scholl, B. J. (2024). Perceived gaze dynamics in social interactions can alter (and even reverse) the perceived temporal order of events. Cognition, 247, Article 105745, 1-8.
These demonstrations are provided as MP4 files, which can be downloaded or viewed directly in most web-browsers. These movies are a bit large and choppy, but they should be sufficient to illustrate the basic conditions. As highly compressed versions of the original stimuli, these movies may not preserve the precise spatial and temporal characteristics of the originals.  
 
Imagine this scene: Person A is staring at person B, and then when B turns toward A, A immediately looks away. Beyond perceiving lower-level properties here -- such as the timing of the eye/head turns -- you can also readily perceive seemingly higher-level social dynamics: A got caught staring, and looked away in embarrassment! It seems natural to assume that such social impressions (of 'gaze deflection') are based on more fundamental representations of what happened when -- but here we show that social gaze dynamics can actually alter (and even reverse) the perceived event order. Across eight experiments, observers (N=1840, recruited online) misperceived B as turning before A, when in fact they turned simultaneously -- and even when B was turning after A. Additional controls confirmed that this illusion depends on visual processing (vs. being driven solely by higher-level interpretations), and that it is specific to the perception of social agents (vs. non-social objects). This demonstrates rich interactions between social perception and lower-level visual processing.  
 
Experiments 1-3 (Synchronous Head Turns)
Animation S1: Sample 'Toward-B' Animation (6.7 MB)
Sample 'Toward-B' animation used in Experiments 1, 2, and 3. The right person (A) turns to look to the left, such that at the end of her head turn she seems to stare at the left person (B). Both people then turn their heads in the opposite direction, such that at the end of their head turns they are both looking to the right.  
 
Animation S2: Sample 'Away-from-B' Animation (7.0 MB)
Sample 'Away-from-B' animation used in Experiments 1, 2, and 3. The left person (A) turns to look to the left, such that at the end of her head turn she seems to stare away from the right person (B). Both people then turn their heads in the opposite direction, such that at the end of their head turns they are both looking to the right.  
 
Experiments 4 (Non-social objects)
Animation S3: Sample 'Toward-B' Animation (122 KB)
Sample 'Toward-B' animation used in Experiment 4. The right object (A) turns to the left; both objects (A and B) then turn in the opposite direction. These motions are identical to the ones from Animation S1, except that they are now performed by turning cubes (instead of turning heads).  
 
Animation S4: Sample 'Away-from-B' Animation (122 KB)
Sample 'Away-from-B' animation used in Experiment 4. The left object (A) turns to the left; both objects (A and B) then turn in the opposite direction. These motions are identical to the ones from Animation S2, except that they are now performed by turning cubes (instead of turning heads).  
 
Experiments 5a and 5b (Asynchronous Head Turns)
Animation S5: Sample 'A-First' Animation (5.1 MB)
Sample 'A-First' animation used in Experiments 5a and 5b. First, the right person (A) turns to look to the left, such that at the end of her head turn she seems to stare at the left person (B). Next, A starts turning again in the opposite direction. Only after A has begun turning does B also turn to the right. At the end of their head turns, they are both looking to the right.  
 
Animation S6: Sample 'B-First' Animation (5.1 MB)
Sample 'B-First' animation used in Experiments 5a and 5b. First, the right person (A) turns to look to the left, such that at the end of her head turn she seems to stare at the left person (B). Next, B starts turning in the opposite direction. Only after B has begun turning does A also turn to the right. At the end of their head turns, they are both looking to the right.