Gaze following in an asocial reptile (Eublepharis macularius)

Simpson, J and O'Hara, S ORCID: 2018, 'Gaze following in an asocial reptile (Eublepharis macularius)' , Animal Cognition, 22 (2) , pp. 145-152.

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Gaze following is the ability to utilise information from another's gaze. It is most often seen in a social context or as a reflexive response to interesting external stimuli. Social species can potentially reveal utilisable knowledge about another's future intentions by attending to the target of their gaze. However, in even more fundamental situations, being sensitive to another's gaze can also be useful such as when it can facilitate greater foraging efficiency or lead to earlier predator detection. While gaze sensitivity has been shown to be prevalent in a number of social species, little is currently known about the potential for gaze following in asocial species. The current study investigated whether an asocial reptile, the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius), could reliably use the visual indicators of attention to follow the gaze of a conspecific around a barrier. We operated three trial conditions and found subjects (N = 6) responded significantly more to the conspecific demonstrator looking up at a laser stimulus projected onto an occluder during the experimental condition compared to either of two control conditions. The study's findings point toward growing evidence for gaze-following ability in reptiles, who are typically categorised as asocial. Furthermore, our findings support developing comparative social cognition research showing the origins of gaze following and other cognitive behaviours that may be more widely distributed across taxonomic groups than hitherto thought.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Animal Cognition
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1435-9456
Related URLs:
Depositing User: S O'Hara
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 15:41
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 00:04

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