Humans must coordinate approach-avoidance behaviours with the social cues that elicit them, such as facial expressions and gaze direction. We hypothesised that when someone is observed looking in a particular direction with a happy expression, the observer would tend to approach that direction, but that when someone is observed looking in a particular direction with a fearful expression, the observer would tend to avoid that direction. Twenty-eight participants viewed stimulus faces with averted gazes and happy or fearful expressions on a computer screen. Participants were asked to grasp (approach) or withdraw from (avoid) a left- or right-hand button depending on the stimulus face's expression. The results were consistent with our hypotheses about avoidance responses, but not with respect to approach responses. Links between social cues and adaptive behaviour are discussed.
- Adaptive behaviour