Coordinating spatial referencing using shared gaze

Psychon Bull Rev. 2010 Oct;17(5):718-24. doi: 10.3758/PBR.17.5.718.


To better understand the problem of referencing a location in space under time pressure, we had two remotely located partners (A, B) attempt to locate and reach consensus on a sniper target, which appeared randomly in the windows of buildings in a pseudorealistic city scene. The partners were able to communicate using speech alone (shared voice), gaze cursors alone (shared gaze), or both. In the shared-gaze conditions, a gaze cursor representing Partner A's eye position was superimposed over Partner B's search display and vice versa. Spatial referencing times (for both partners to find and agree on targets) were faster with shared gaze than with speech, with this benefit due primarily to faster consensus (less time needed for one partner to locate the target after it was located by the other partner). These results suggest that sharing gaze can be more efficient than speaking when people collaborate on tasks requiring the rapid communication of spatial information. Supplemental materials for this article may be downloaded from

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Fixation, Ocular* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Space Perception* / physiology
  • Speech