|Tipo di tesi||Tesi di dottorato di ricerca|
|Autore||CIARDO, FRANCESCA MARIA|
|Titolo||L’attenzione visiva e l’interazione sociale: evidenze dallo studio dell’attenzione congiunta e dell’azione condivisa.|
|Titolo in inglese||Visual attention and social interactions: the study of joint attention and joint action.|
|Settore scientifico disciplinare||M-PSI/01 - PSICOLOGIA GENERALE|
|Corso di studi||Scuola di D.R. in NEUROSCIENZE|
|Data inizio appello||2015-03-26|
|Disponibilità||Accessibile via web (tutti i file della tesi sono accessibili)|
Alla base dell’interazione sociale vi è la capacità di discernere le intenzioni e gli stati mentali altrui, L’attenzione è uno dei processi cognitivi coinvolti nel garantire un'interazione adattiva con l’ambiente, poiché permette di polarizzare l’elaborazione delle informazioni che provengono da esso.
At the heart of social interaction is the ability to discern other people’s intentions and mental states in order to interpret their behaviour and react accordingly. Attention is critically involved in ensuring adaptive interactions with our environment by biasing information processing and several works indicate its functioning is influenced by the need to act in a social context. The present work aimed at investigating the mechanisms underlying these abilities from a behavioural perspective, by adopting a social cognitive approach to the study of visual attention. In particular, the role of social interaction in influencing visual attention was systematically examined by focusing on two research areas: the gaze-mediated orienting of attention, and the ability to coordinate our actions with those of others, namely joint action. Chapter one introduces the theoretical framework in which the present project can be inscribed: the social cognitive neuroscience approach. Social cognitive neuroscience is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human behaviour, which integrates the study of three level of analysis: the neural substrates, the cognitive system and the social environment. Chapter two assessed the role of attention in spatial coding when participants are required to coordinate their actions with those of others. To this aim we used the Simon paradigm, a task commonly used to study spatial coding. By means of this task it has been shown that the spatial position of stimuli is defined through two spatial codes: an egocentric code, which determines the absolute position of the stimulus according to the central axis of the space; and a relative code, which determines the position of the stimulus within the hemispace of reference. In two experiments we assessed whether multiple spatial codes emerge even when individuals perform a task along another person. Results showed that when two people perform a joint task the location of the stimulus is determined through a single spatial code, according to its absolute position in space. This result may support the view that acting in a social context leads to the creation of a shared task representation, that is a representation integrating self and other’s tasks and actions supporting joint performance. Chapter three focuses on social modulations of the gaze-mediated orienting of attention. Even though it has been widely demonstrated that in the laboratory the view of an averted gaze can trigger an automatic attentional shift, it seems implausible that this happens also in real-life situations. It is more likely that gaze cues have less signal value when the behaviour of the person who is gazing has low relevance for the achievement of our goals. In three experiments we tested this assumption by investigating if the gaze-mediated orienting of attention is modulated by the cooperative and competitive behaviour associated to a cuing face during a prior interaction. To this end, we employed a standard gaze-cuing paradigm and manipulated the relationship between the participant and the cuing faces. Results showed that cooperative and competitive prior interaction affected the ability to use others people’s gaze as an attentional cue, but only if the outcome of the interaction was known and according to the individuals’ competiveness levels. The General discussion focuses on the integration of results from the two topics examined within the theoretical framework of social cognition and stresses the importance of studying several aspects of visual attention by analysing the role of social variables and social interaction. Indeed, results of the experiments presented in this thesis demonstrate that attention is not an isolated process that is encapsulated within the individual, but instead comprises highly dynamic and flexible mechanisms that can be distributed across individuals, affecting the way in which people encode their surroundings and interact with each other.