Where we look often reveals our interests and intentions. Consequently, we often look toward others and follow their gaze to the objects to which they give visual attention. Like humans, monkeys pay attention to the eyes of individuals within their groups; in the laboratory, they respond more quickly to a target when they have seen another individual look at it. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center now demonstrate that social status strongly determines how monkeys deploy their attention to others: high-status monkeys are slower and more selective about whose gaze they follow than are low-status monkeys.
In the current study, Stephen Shepherd, Robert Deaner, and Michael Platt examined the time course of attention when male macaques saw other high- or low-status male macaques looking toward or away from a target. They found that low-status monkeys shifted attention to the target within a tenth of a second after seeing another monkey do so. High-status monkeys, however, were half as fast and only followed the gaze of other dominant monkeys.
The findings indicate that gaze-following in monkeys is composed of both reflexive and voluntary elements, and they also demonstrate that social status of an individual gates that individuals deployment of social attention. The study results further suggest that biological correlates of high social status, such as elevated levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, may suppress so-called "social vigilance," which is high in low-status males that readily follow the gaze of others.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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