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Angela S. Chan, Ayse P. Saygin; Biological motion as a cue for spatial attention: Pointing. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):653. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.9.653.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Introduction: Movements of living entities in our environment are an important source of information. Specifically, spatial attention can be directed by others’ eye gaze and pointing. Here we tested whether biological motion dynamics influences the use of pointing movements as a cue for attention. Methods: Subjects viewed videos of pointing movements by an adult human and an android made to resemble the human (Repliee Q2). The two agents had very similar appearance but whereas the former moved with natural biological motion dynamics, the latter was a robot that moved mechanically. After each video, a gabor patch was presented either on the same side of the screen as the pointing movement (congruent) or on the opposite side (incongruent). Participants were asked to respond by pressing one of two buttons to indicate the location of the gabor. Results: There was an interaction between congruence and the viewed agent. Non-biological motion (android) was in fact a stronger cue for attention compared to biological motion (human). We hypothesize the android, which features a human appearance but mechanical motion, leads to stronger attentional effects due to its novelty and/or the uncanny valley phenomenon (where viewers have a negative response towards artificial agents that are too close to human). Conclusions: For pointing movements, biological motion dynamics does not appear to increase spatial attention to the pointed location. Instead, the non-biological pointing movement of the android was a more effective attentional cue. Follow-up studies with less humanlike robots are needed to determine whether this effect interacts with biological appearance.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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