Large lateralized EDAN-like brain potentials in a gaze-shift detection task

Psychophysiology. 2019 Jul;56(7):e13361. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13361. Epub 2019 Mar 8.


Attentional cueing tasks using gaze direction as spatial cues have sometimes yielded an early directing attention negativity (EDAN) component in the ERP, presumably reflecting the initial orienting toward the cued location. However, other studies have failed to identify an EDAN component for gaze cues, yielding an inconsistent picture. In the present study, we re-examined the EDAN to gaze cueing, using a continuous task where the specific direction of the gaze changes was task irrelevant. Face stimuli changed gaze direction several times during each trial between direct, left-, and right-averted positions. Participants counted the number of gaze shifts during the trial. Results showed an unusually large EDAN-like ERP asymmetry at posterior scalp sites that was of similar amplitude for large and small gaze shifts into the periphery. Shifts from an averted position toward a direct gaze elicited a qualitatively similar but smaller effect than shifts into the periphery. Together, these findings shed new light on gaze-elicited spatial attention as they indicate a reflexive attention orienting, following the direction of gaze motion, even when the gaze direction itself is irrelevant for the task.

Keywords: ADAN; EDAN; N2pc; gaze cueing; lateralized ERPs; spatial attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology
  • Young Adult