The politics of attention: gaze-cuing effects are moderated by political temperament.

Attention, perception & psychophysics

PubMedID: 21258905

Dodd MD, Hibbing JR, Smith KB. The politics of attention: gaze-cuing effects are moderated by political temperament. Atten Percept Psychophys. 2011;73(1):24-9.
Gaze cues lead to reflexive shifts of attention even when those gaze cues do not predict target location. Although this general effect has been repeatedly demonstrated, not all individuals orient to gaze in an identical manner. For example, the magnitude of gaze-cuing effects have been reduced or eliminated in populations such as those scoring high on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient and in males relative to females (since males exhibit more autism-like traits). In the present study, we examined whether gaze cue effects would be moderated by political temperament, given that those on the political right tend to be more supportive of individualism--and less likely to be influenced by others--than those on the left. We found standard gaze-cuing effects across all subjects but systematic differences in these effects by political temperament. Liberals exhibited a very large gaze-cuing effect, whereas conservatives showed no such effect at various stimulus onset asynchronies.