Alan Kingstone's research while affiliated with University of British Columbia - Vancouver and other places

Publications (413)

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Facial attractiveness in humans signals an individual’s genetic condition, underlying physiology and health status, serving as a cue to one’s mate value. The practice of wearing face masks for prevention of transmission of airborne infections may disrupt one’s ability to evaluate facial attractiveness, and with it, cues to an individual's health an...
Article
The research on mate choice has neglected preference for romantic partners of physically disabled individuals. In the present study we tested attractiveness evaluation of disabled individuals in a romantic context. Additionally, and according to the disease-avoidance mechanism proposed by behavioral immune system theory, individual differences in d...
Article
Gaze behaviour is an important component of successful social interactions. Existing research on social gaze and attention has largely focused on gaze detection and following, rather than the two-way communicative component of gaze that operates between individuals. The present study sought to address this in two experiments. First, “hiders” were e...
Article
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Eye contact is a dynamic social signal that captures attention and plays a critical role in human communication. In particular, direct gaze often accompanies communicative acts in an ostensive function: a speaker directs her gaze towards the addressee to highlight the fact that this message is being intentionally communicated to her. The addressee,...
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Humans have evolved the cognitive ability to perceive and associate dominance, masculinity, and emotions to animals and humans of larger sizes. Previous research has shown that humans are able to anthropomorphize nonbiological objects such as cars and attribute different characteristics to them. We hypothesized that larger vehicles are perceived an...
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According to life history theory, as resources and energy are not infinite, individuals show behavioural and psychological variations on a fast-slow continuum associated to their life strategies. Fast strategies are associated with short-term gains and more opportunistic attitudes, while slow strategies are associated with delayed gratification and...
Article
Eyes are communicative. But what happens when eyes are camouflaged? In the present study, while either wearing sunglasses (that camouflaged the eyes) or clear glasses, participants were presented with sexually provocative and neutral images, which they viewed in the presence of another person who they knew was observing their eyes. Unbeknownst to t...
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A contrapposto pose, as exemplified by Michelangelo's David statue, is an asymmetric body posture known for its beauty and prevalence throughout the world of art. Past research has revealed that contrapposto poses are perceived to be more attractive than an upright, erect pose. Yet, this empirical work has only considered perceptions of the female...
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The rapid rise of computing power has prompted the desire to develop more social, human-like robots. Quantitatively comparing different computing systems on their ability to simulate human qualities has been a major technical challenge. A recent framework put forth by Gray et al. (Science 315(5812):619, 2007. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1134475...
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Previous research has shown that women may use self-enhancement strategies to compete with one other. Lumbar curvature in women is considered to enhance a woman′s attractiveness, potentially due to its role in bipedal fetal load and sexual receptiveness. The current study investigated the role of lumbar curvature on women’s perceptions of sexual re...
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Virtual reality (VR) media using a three-dimensional (3D) camera facilitates an immersive experience compared to traditional two-dimensional (2D) formats. In this novel study, we used high quality, women-centered erotica and examined whether stimulus modality (VR vs. 2D) and point of view (POV: first-person vs. third-person) impacted women’s feelin...
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Attention is considered to be a critical part of the sexual response cycle, and researchers have differentiated between the roles of initial (involuntary) and subsequent (voluntary) attention paid to sexual stimuli as part of the facilitation of sexual arousal. Prior studies using eye-tracking methodologies have shown differing initial attention pa...
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Physical appearance influences our perceptions, judgments, and decision making about others. While the current literature with regard to the perceptions and judgments of nondisabled people's attractiveness is robust, the research investigating the perceived physical attractiveness and judgments of physically disabled individuals is scarce. Therefor...
Article
Background: Testosterone is associated with sexual desire and performance in men, but little is known about cognitive mechanisms underlying this relationship. Even less is known about the influence of estradiol, despite its production from testosterone, and high receptor density in brain regions related to male sexual behavior. Method: We used e...
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The film industry has begun to increase the frame rate of movies in order to enhance viewer's perception of visual smoothness. This decision is causing controversy, and it is exacerbated by the development of high frame rate technology for television. To address this issue, we investigated if higher (60 frames per second or fps) versus conventional...
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In this paper, we present a review of how the various aspects of any study using an eye tracker (such as the instrument, methodology, environment, participant, etc.) affect the quality of the recorded eye-tracking data and the obtained eye-movement and gaze measures. We take this review to represent the empirical foundation for reporting guidelines...
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Facial expressions, and the ability to recognize these expressions, have evolved in humans to communicate information to one another. Face masks are equipment used in healthcare by health professionals to prevent the transmission of airborne infections. As part of the social distancing efforts related to COVID-19, wearing facial masks has been prac...
Article
People often perform visual tasks together, for example, when looking for a misplaced key. When performing such tasks jointly, people coordinate their actions to divide the labor, for example, by looking for the misplaced key in different rooms. This way, they tend to perform better together than individually-they attain a group benefit. A crucial...
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People are drawn to social, animate things more than inanimate objects. Previous research has also shown gaze following in humans, a process that has been linked to theory of mind (ToM). In three experiments, we investigated whether animacy and ToM are involved when making judgements about the location of a cursor in a scene. In Experiment 1, parti...
Preprint
It has long been thought that visual perception is represented in sensorimotor processes that unfold over time. One prominent theory predicts that our memory for a scene consists of both the scene content and the motor commands (i.e., eye movements) used to explore that scene. This Scanpath Theory (Noton & Stark, Science 171 (1971) 308-311) has lon...
Article
Throughout our species history, humans have created pictures. The resulting picture record reveals an overwhelming preference for depicting things with minds. This preference suggests that pictures capture something of the mind that is significant to us, albeit at reduced potency. Here, we show that abstraction dims the perceived mind, even within...
Article
Previous research has related the existence of pathogenic threat to an individual's social cognition, with people avoiding physical interactions with those who have potential contagion risks. These pathogenic induced behavioral responses have broader social consequences, such as avoidance of outgroup members or negative reactions to individuals for...
Article
Eye contact enhances memory for spoken words. The present research examined if a similar effect occurs when one observes rather than experiences eye contact, and whether the effect extends to situations where physical presence is eliminated (i.e., video-conferencing). In two studies a live investigator read words aloud while making eye contact with...
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Asexuality is defined as a unique sexual orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction to others. This has been challenged, with some experts positing that it is better explained as a sexual dysfunction. Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder (SIAD) is characterized by absent/reduced sexual interest/arousal paired with personal distress, with...
Article
While passive social information (e.g. pictures of people) routinely draws one's eyes, our willingness to look at live others is more nuanced. People tend not to stare at strangers and will modify their gaze behaviour to avoid sending undesirable social signals; yet they often continue to monitor others covertly “out of the corner of their eyes.” W...
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Recent debates in the literature discuss commonalities between Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at multiple levels of putative causal networks. This debate requires systematic comparisons between these disorders that have been studied in isolation in the past, employing potential markers of each dis...
Article
Humans often perform visual tasks together, and when doing so, they tend to devise division of labor strategies to share the load. Implementing such strategies, however, is effortful as co-actors need to coordinate their actions. We tested if pupil size – a physiological correlate of mental effort – can detect such a coordination effort in a multip...
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The purpose of this study was to explore body image correlates of voluntary consumption of physique-salient media. A secondary aim was to assess changes in affect following media consumption. Young adult men (n = 47; mean age = 20.2 years) and women (n = 87; mean age = 19.5 years) were discretely exposed to images of same-sex models with idealized-...
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Objectives Humans have evolved a behavioral system that responds to perceptual cues suggesting the existence of a pathogenic threat in other individuals and the environment. While previous investigations have reported that individuals’ sexual preferences are influenced by a pathogen threat, the empirical support for face preference is mixed (i.e.,...
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Objective: It is of critical importance to develop socially sensitive vehicles that will enhance pedestrians’ sense of comfort and safety. The current study is the first to extend these effects to vehicles, by investigating individual comfort distance in virtual reality with regard to vehicles that vary in terms of size, viewing angle and anthropom...
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Eye movements exhibit reduced latencies when the point of fixation is extinguished prior to, or coincident with, the appearance of a peripheral target. Two independent components are responsible for this facilitation. If the offset occurs before target onset, it presents a warning which stimulates response preparation and execution. If offset occur...
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In the near future humans will increasingly be required to cooperate and share task load with artificial agents in joint tasks as they will be able to greatly assist humans in various types of tasks and contexts. In the present study, we investigated humans' willingness to share task load with a computer partner in a joint visuospatial task. The pa...
Article
Focusing attention is a key cognitive skill, but how the gaze of others affects engaged attention remains relatively unknown.We investigated if participants’ attentional bias toward a location is modulated by the number of people gazing toward or away from it. We presented participants with a nonpredictive directional cue that biased attention towa...
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Human eyelashes are one of the facial features that contributes to facial attractiveness. While enhancing the appearance of eyelashes has been practiced since antiquity, research investigations that consider the effect of their length on perceived attractiveness are scarce. Length of eyelashes can be an indicator of health, and it has recently been...
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The effect of cognitive load on social attention was examined across three experiments in a live pedestrian passing scenario (Experiments 1 and 2) and with the same scenario presented as a video (Experiment 3). In all three experiments, the load was manipulated using an auditory 2-back task. While the participant was wearing a mobile eye-tracker, t...
Preprint
In daily life, humans frequently perform visuospatial tasks together (e.g., visual search) and distribute the labour in such tasks. Previous research has shown that humans prefer a left and right labour division in a joint multiple object tracking (MOT) task. Yet, findings from studies investigating individuals' tracking ability suggest attentional...
Preprint
Humans often perform visual tasks together, and when doing so, they tend to devise division of labor strategies to share the load. Implementing such strategies, however, is effortful as co-actors need to coordinate their actions. We tested if pupil size – a physiological correlate of mental effort – can detect such a coordination effort in a multip...
Preprint
People naturally move both their head and eyes to attend to information. Yet, little is known about how the head and eyes coordinate in attentional selection due to the relative sparsity of past work that has simultaneously measured head and gaze behaviour. In the present study, participants were asked to view fully immersive 360-degree scenes usin...
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A student’s ability to learn effectively in a classroom setting is subject to many factors. While some factors are difficult to regulate, this study explores two factors that a student, or instructor, has full control over, namely 1) seating position, and 2) computer usage. Both factors have been studied considerably with regard to their effects on...
Preprint
The rapid rise of computing power over the last half-century has prompted the desire to understand and develop a paradigm of affective computing systems that can recognize, process, and simulate human features, including qualities like empathy and morality. Quantitatively comparing different computing systems in their abilities to simulate human qu...
Article
Our senses are stimulated continuously. Through multisensory integration, different sensory inputs may or may not be combined into a unitary percept. Simultaneous with this stimulation, people are frequently engaged in social interactions, but how multisensory integration and social processing interact is largely unknown. The present study investig...
Article
Full-text available
How do we explore the visual environment around us, and how are head and eye movements coordinated during our exploration? To investigate this question, we had observers look at omnidirectional panoramic scenes, composed of both landscape and fractal images, using a virtual reality viewer while their eye and head movements were tracked. We analyzed...
Preprint
Looking at other people allows us to collect information about them, but it can also reveal our attentional state when we would rather conceal it. We report that individuals spontaneously employ sustained covert monitoring, rather than direct looking, when evaluating the actions of a live stranger. In contrast, individuals look directly at the acti...
Article
Looking at other people allows us to collect information about them, but it can also reveal our attentional state when we would rather conceal it. We report that individuals spontaneously employ sustained covert monitoring, rather than direct looking, when evaluating the actions of a live stranger. In contrast, individuals look directly at the acti...
Article
The length of the last visual fixation before the critical final phase of a movement—the quiet eye (QE) fixation—is positively correlated with expertise and success. The present study tested the potential for intraskill transfer of QE durations in order to determine whether it is intrinsically linked to expertise development or is a separable skill...
Article
An important aspect of embodied approaches to cognition is the idea that human cognition does not occur simply in the brain, but is influenced by a complex bi-directional interplay between the brain, body, and external environment. Though embodied cognition is often studied in a controlled laboratory setting, by its very nature it can arise spontan...
Article
Veiling is an ancient cultural practice endorsed by religion, social institutions, and laws. Recently, there have been adaptive arguments to explain its function and existence. Specifically, it is argued that veiling women is a form of male mate guarding strategy, which aims to increase sexual fidelity by decreasing overt displays of his mate's phy...
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Objectives Sexually dimorphic characteristics can signal high genetic fitness and parasite resistance in intersexual selection; and individuals choose and prefer mates who appear resistant to parasites. Furthermore, sexually dimorphic traits can indicate intrasexual competitiveness. Beards are a sexually dimorphic trait, and in the current study we...
Article
In daily life, humans frequently perform visuospatial tasks together (e.g., visual search) and distribute the labor in such tasks. Previous research has shown that humans prefer a left and right labor division in a joint multiple object tracking (MOT) task. Yet, findings from studies investigating individuals’ tracking ability suggest attentional c...
Article
Full-text available
Though digital images and real objects are represented differently at a neural level and can evoke different behaviours, little work has directly compared the magnitude of social effects on real and digitally represented stimuli. Object-directed reaches are modified in the near space of others, while image-directed reaches are not, but the exact ro...
Preprint
In the near future humans will increasingly be required to cooperate and share task load with artificial agents (e.g., robots) as they will be able to greatly assist humans in various types of tasks and contexts. In the present study, we investigated humans’ willingness to share task load with an artificial agent (i.e., a computer program) in a joi...
Preprint
While passive social information (e.g. pictures of people) routinely draws one's eyes, our willingness to look at live others is more nuanced. People tend not to stare at strangers and will modify their gaze behaviour to avoid sending undesirable social signals; yet they often continue to monitor others covertly “out of the corner of their eyes.” W...
Preprint
In daily life, humans often perform visual tasks together such as, for instance, solving puzzles or looking for a misplaced key. In such tasks, humans tend to distribute task demands, enabling them to reach a higher performance compared to performing the same task alone – a group benefit. Research on group benefits in joint visual tasks has found t...
Preprint
How do we explore the visual environment around us, and how are head and eye movements coordinated during our exploration? To investigate this question, we had observers look at omni-directional panoramic scenes, composed of both landscape and fractal images, using a virtual-reality (VR) viewer while their eye and head movements were tracked. We an...
Preprint
Research investigating gaze in natural scenes has identified a number of spatial biases in where people look, but it is unclear whether these are partly due to constrained testing environments (e.g., a participant with their head restrained and looking at a landscape image framed within a computer monitor). We examined the extent to which image sha...
Article
Full-text available
Unlike other mammals, human females have evolved so that their breasts remain enlarged. Previous research has related the size and shape of women’s breasts with women’s reproductive potential and attractiveness. Objective To provide a more complete picture of these issues, the current study extended previous research by investigating the effects o...
Article
Full-text available
In daily life, humans constantly process information from multiple sensory modalities (e.g., visual and auditory). Information across sensory modalities may (or may not) be combined to form the perception of a single event via the process of multisensory integration. Recent research has suggested that performing a spatial crossmodal congruency task...
Article
When interacting with other humans, facial expressions provide valuable information for approach or avoid decisions. Here, we consider facial attractiveness as another important dimension upon which approach-avoidance behaviours may be based. In Experiments 1-3, we measured participants' responses to attractive and unattractive women's faces in an...
Article
In daily life, humans often perform visual tasks, such as solving puzzles or searching for a friend in a crowd. Performing these visual searches jointly with a partner can be beneficial: The two task partners can devise effective division of labor strategies and thereby outperform individuals who search alone. To date, it is unknown whether these g...
Preprint
Our different senses are stimulated continuously. Through multisensory integration, different sensory inputs may or may not be combined into a unitary percept. Simultaneous with this stimulation, people are frequently engaged in social interactions, but how multisensory integration and social processing combine is largely unknown. The present study...
Article
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and breast size are considered important biological features defining female body attractiveness; but their neurophysiological correlates remain largely unknown. To shed light on this issue, behavioral and electroencephalographic responses were recorded while healthy heterosexual men and women completed an oddball task, whi...
Preprint
Though digital images and real objects are represented differently at a neural level and can evoke different behaviours, little work has directly compared the magnitude of social effects on real and digitally represented stimuli. Object-directed reaches are modified in the near space of others, while image-directed reaches are not, but the exact ro...
Chapter
This chapter is aimed at introducing the reader to current methods for the spatial and temporal analysis of eye movements. There are four main parts. In the first part of the chapter, we introduce the relation between attention and eye movements and then review the foundations of attention research, social attention and the effect of stimulus salie...
Article
People often behave differently when they know they are being watched. Here, we report the first investigation of whether such social presence effects also include brain monitoring technology, and also their impacts on the measured neural activity. We demonstrate that merely informing participants that fMRI has the potential to observe (thought-rel...
Preprint
In daily life, humans constantly process information from multiple sensory modalities (e.g., vision, audition). Information across sensory modalities may (or may not) be combined to form the perception of a single event via the process of multisensory integration. Recent research suggests that performing a spatial crossmodal congruency task jointly...
Article
Attention can be shifted in the direction that another person is looking, but the role played by an observer's mental attribution to the looker is controversial. And whether mental attribution to the looker is sufficient to trigger an attention shift is unknown. The current study introduces a novel paradigm to investigate this latter issue. An acto...
Preprint
Funding agencies and academic institutions are increasing their emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations as an important scientific method for answering complex societal questions. We argue that participating in these initiatives can make one party to behaviors that risk the integrity of one's research. We suggest ways how researchers, institut...