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Social attention with real versus reel stimuli: toward an empirical approach to concerns about ecological validity

Risko, Evan F and Laidlaw, Kaitlin and Freeth, Megan and Foulsham, Tom and Kingstone, Alan (2012) 'Social attention with real versus reel stimuli: toward an empirical approach to concerns about ecological validity.' Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6 (MAY 20). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1662-5161

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Cognitive neuroscientists often study social cognition by using simple but socially relevant stimuli, such as schematic faces or images of other people. Whilst this research is valuable, important aspects of genuine social encounters are absent from these studies, a fact that has recently drawn criticism. In the present review we argue for an empirical approach to the determination of the equivalence of different social stimuli. This approach involves the systematic comparison of different types of social stimuli ranging in their approximation to a real social interaction. In garnering support for this cognitive ethological approach, we focus on recent research in social attention that has involved stimuli ranging from simple schematic faces to real social interactions. We highlight both meaningful similarities and differences in various social attentional phenomena across these different types of social stimuli thus validating the utility of the research initiative. Furthermore, we argue that exploring these similarities and differences will provide new insights into social cognition and social neuroscience.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecological methods; ethology; social attention; social neuroscience
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2014 12:12
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 14:45

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