Social attention describes how observers orient to social information and exhibit behaviors such as gaze following. These behaviors are examples of how attentional orienting may differ when in the presence of other people, although they have typically been studied without actual social presence. In the present study we ask whether orienting, as measured by head and eye movements, will change when participants are trying to mislead or hide their attention from a bystander. In two experiments, observers performed a preference task while being video-recorded, and subsequent participants were asked to guess the response of the participant based on a video of the head and upper body. In a second condition, observers were told to try to mislead the “guesser”. The results showed that participants’ preference responses could be guessed from videos of the head and, critically, that participants spontaneously changed their orienting behavior in order to mislead by reducing the rate at which they made large head movements. Masking the eyes with sunglasses suggested that head movements were most important in our setup. This indicates that head and eye movements can be used flexibly according to the socio-communicative context.
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