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DownloadedBy:[UniversityofRochester]At:19:1527May2008 Headed in the Right Direction

Summary: DownloadedBy:[UniversityofRochester]At:19:1527May2008
Headed in the Right Direction:
A Commentary on Yoshida and Smith
Richard N. Aslin
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
University of Rochester
In 1984, I was jogging through the streets of Bloomington, Indiana, and came to an
intersection just as a car approached on the cross street. The car slowed down for
the stop sign, the driver looked in my direction, and I proceeded to jog in front of its
path, confident that the driver was aware of my presence and would certainly not
run the stop sign. I was wrong. After tumbling over the hood of the car, which hit
me at perhaps 10 miles per hour, I ended up on the ground, with the panicked driver
standing over me asking if I was okay (I was bruised but not broken). The point of
this anecdote is that everyone takes for granted the inference that where someone
looks, which is often based solely on head direction, is coincident with where that
person is attending. The hard lesson I learned by that accident is that looking is not
the same as seeing.
Experimental psychologists have known for nearly a century that an excellent
measure of visual attention is the direction of gaze (Buswell, 1922). Head direction
provides a less accurate measure because the eyes can move within a 90 horizon-


Source: Aslin, Richard N. - Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester


Collections: Biology and Medicine