AHRC logoPhilosophy, Psychology and
Neuroscience (PPN) Research Seminar

Venue: Psychology Level 6 Meeting Room, 58 Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QB

Time: 4:00–5:30pm

Seminars are followed by a complimentary cheese and wine reception, plus dinner and drinks with the speaker and respondent for those who wish to attend. All welcome!

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Monday 16 October 2014

Martin Doherty (Psychology, UEA)

‘Developmentally distinct systems for processing gaze and theory of mind’
Monday 14 December 2014

Christopher Mole (Philosophy, UBC)

Psychiatric perspectives on the imagination (TBC)

*Talk sponsored by the AHRC Rethinking the Senses Project.

Further events will be announced in due course. For a list of previous speakers, see our previous events page.



Martin Doherty (University of East Anglia)

‘Developmentally distinct systems for processing gaze and theory of mind’

Recent exciting work on theory of mind development demonstrates infants’ sensitivity to others’ mental states.1 In this talk I consider whether this is the same ability shown around 4 years in classic theory of mind tasks, or whether there are separate systems for theory of mind processing, analogous to the System 1–System 2 distinction.2 Gaze understanding is considered as a test case: understanding perceptual access is foundational to theory of mind.  Gaze following in infancy appears fast and automatic (system 1); gaze judgement is not possible until 3 years3 and appears slow and deliberative (system 2). Data are presented demonstrating that the two gaze abilities rely on different perceptual cues.4  Gaze following employs only the luminance cues in the eye5, whereas gaze judgement employs both luminance and geometric cues:6 objective psychophysical evidence for two systems. Discussion concerns the wider theoretical implications for theory of mind development.

  1. Onishi, K. H., & Baillargeon, R. (2005). ‘Do 15-Month-Old Infants Understand False Beliefs?’ Science, 308(5719), 255–258. doi:10.1126/science.1107621
    Southgate, V., Senju, A., & Csibra, G. (2007). ‘Action anticipation through attribution of false belief by 2-year-olds’. Psychological Science, 18(7), 587–592.
  2. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  3. Doherty, M. J., Anderson, J. R., & Howieson, L. (2009). ‘The rapid development of explicit gaze judgment ability at 3 years.’ Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104(3), 296–312.
  4. Doherty, M. J., McIntyre, A. M., & Langton, S. R. H. (in press). ‘Developmentally distinct gaze processing systems: Luminance versus geometric cues’. Cognition.
  5. Ando, S. (2002). ‘Luminance-induced shift in the apparent direction of gaze’. Perception, 31(6), 657–674.
  6. Langton, S. R. H., Watt, R. J., & Bruce, V. (2000). ‘Do the eyes have it? Cues to the direction of social attention’. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4(2), 50–59.