Social Interactions through the Eyes of Macaques and Humans

McFarland, Richard; Roebuck, Hettie; Yan, Yin; Majolo, Bonaventura; Li, Wu; Guo, Kun
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Group-living primates frequently interact with each other to maintain social bonds as well as to compete for valuable resources. Observing such social interactions between group members provides individuals with essential information (e.g. on the fighting ability or altruistic attitude of group companions) to guide their social tactics and choice of social partners. This process requires individuals to selectively attend to the most informative content within a social scene. It is unclear how non-human primates allocate attention to social interactions in different contexts, and whether they share similar patterns of social attention to humans. Here we compared the gaze behaviour of rhesus macaques and humans when free-viewing the same set of naturalistic images. The images contained positive or negative social interactions between two conspecifics of different phylogenetic distance from the observer; i.e. affiliation or aggression exchanged by two humans, rhesus macaques, Barbary macaques, baboons or lions. Monkeys directed a variable amount of gaze at the two conspecific individuals in the images according to their roles in the interaction (i.e. giver or receiver of affiliation/aggression). Their gaze distribution to non-conspecific individuals was systematically varied according to the viewed species and the nature of interactions, suggesting a contribution of both prior experience and innate bias in guiding social attention. Furthermore, the monkeys’ gaze behavior was qualitatively similar to that of humans, especially when viewing negative interactions. Detailed analysis revealed that both species directed more gaze at the face than the body region when inspecting individuals, and attended more to the body region in negative than in positive social interactions. Our study suggests that monkeys and humans share a similar pattern of role-sensitive, species- and context-dependent social attention, implying a homologous cognitive mechanism of social attention between rhesus macaques and humans.


Related Articles

  • Seeing the Experimenter Influences the Response to Pointing Cues in Long-Tailed Macaques. Schmitt, Vanessa; Schloegl, Christian; Fischer, Julia // PLoS ONE;Mar2014, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p1 

    Methodological variations in experimental conditions can strongly influence animals' performances in cognitive tests. Specifically, the procedure of the so-called object-choice task has been controversially discussed; here, a human experimenter indicates the location of hidden food by pointing...

  • Erratum to: Understanding of and reasoning about object-object relationships in long-tailed macaques? Schloegl, Christian; Waldmann, Michael; Fischer, Julia // Animal Cognition;Jan2014, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p163 

    A correction to the article "Understanding of and reasoning about object-object relationships in long-tailed macaques?" that was published in a 2013 issue of the journal "Animal Cognition" is presented.

  • Effects of Arm Crossing on Spatial Perspective-Taking. Furlanetto, Tiziano; Gallace, Alberto; Ansuini, Caterina; Becchio, Cristina // PLoS ONE;Apr2014, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p1 

    Human social interactions often require people to take a different perspective than their own. Although much research has been done on egocentric spatial representation in a solo context, little is known about how space is mapped in relation to other bodies. Here we used a spatial...

  • Perceptual load modulates attentional capture by abrupt onsets. Joshua D Cosman; Shaun P Vecera // Psychonomic Bulletin & Review;Apr2009, Vol. 16 Issue 2, p404 

    The abrupt appearance of a new object captures attention, even when the object is task irrelevant. These findings suggest that abrupt onsets capture attention in a stimulus-driven manner and are not susceptible to top-down influences on attentional control. However, previous studies examining...

  • On the Other Side of the Fence: Effects of Social Categorization and Spatial Grouping on Memory and Attention for Own-Race and Other-Race Faces. Kloth, Nadine; Shields, Susannah E.; Rhodes, Gillian // PLoS ONE;Sep2014, Vol. 9 Issue 9, p1 

    The term “own-race bias” refers to the phenomenon that humans are typically better at recognizing faces from their own than a different race. The perceptual expertise account assumes that our face perception system has adapted to the faces we are typically exposed to, equipping it...

  • Perceptual crossing: the simplest online paradigm. Auvray, Malika; Rohde, Marieke // Frontiers in Human Neuroscience;Jun2012, Vol. 6, p1 

    Researchers in social cognition increasingly realize that many phenomena cannot be understood by investigating offline situations only, focusing on individual mechanisms and an observer perspective. There are processes of dynamic emergence specific to online situations, when two or more persons...

  • Why Does Selective Attention to Parts Fail in Face Processing? Richier, Jennifer J.; Brown, Danielle D.; Tanaka, James W.; Gauthier, Isabel // Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory & Cognition;Nov2008, Vol. 34 Issue 6, p1356 

    One hallmark of holistic face processing is an inability to selectively attend to I face part while ignoring information in another part. In 3 sequential matching experiments, the authors tested perceptual and decisional accounts of holistic processing by measuring congruency effects between...

  • How to keep attention from straying: get engaged! Charles L Folk; Edward F Ester; Kristof Troemel // Psychonomic Bulletin & Review;Feb2009, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p127 

    Previous research has suggested that the involuntary allocation of spatial attention to salient, irrelevant stimuli (i.e., attentional capture) is prevented when attention is in a focused state (e.g., Yantis & Jonides, 1990). Recent work has suggested that although focused attention may be...

  • Prediction and Uncertainty in Human Pavlovian to Instrumental Transfer. Trick, Leanne; Hogarth, Lee; Duka, Theodora // Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory & Cognition;May2011, Vol. 37 Issue 3, p757 

    Attentional capture and behavioral control by conditioned stimuli have been dissociated in animals. The current study assessed this dissociation in humans. Participants were trained on a Pavlovian schedule in which 3 visual stimuli. A, B, and C, predicted the occurrence of an aversive noise with...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics