Social pre-treatment modulates attention allocation to transient and stable object properties

Katalin Oláh, Fruzsina Elekes, Borbála Turcsán, Orsolya Kis, József Topál

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Increasing evidence suggests that ostensive-communicative signals in social learning situations enable observers to focus their attention on the intrinsic features of an object (e.g., color) at the expense of ignoring transient object properties (e.g., location). Here we investigated whether off-line social cues, presented as social primes, have the same power to modulate attention allocation to stable and transient object properties as on-line ostensive-communicative cues. The first part of the experiment consisted of a pre-treatment phase, where adult male participants either received intensive social stimulation or were asked to perform non-social actions. Then, they participated in a change detection test, where they watched pairs of pictures depicting an array of five objects. On the second picture, a change occurred compared to the first picture. One object changed either its location (moving forward or backward) or was replaced by another object, and participants were required to indicate where the change had happened. We found that participants detected the change more successfully if it had happened in the location of the object; however, this difference was reduced following a socially intense pre-treatment phase. The results are discussed in relation to the claims of the natural pedagogy theory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1619
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - Oct 25 2016



  • Change detection
  • Communication
  • Identity
  • Location
  • Object
  • Social pre-treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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