How is our perception of events influenced by other people’s attention?

While quite a lot is known about how our attention is guided by what other people do or attend, we know not as much about how our perception is affected by other people around us. Do we perceive or remember events, objects and situations differently if they involve, or are attended by, others? This is investigated in Andreas Falck’s PhD project. In this context, situations are defined as object-location configurations. Theoretical starting points include: a) the manner of other people’s attending events conveys how interested they are in the same events; b) our memory of events which other people find interesting is facilitated as a consequence of interest being partly contagious.

Three sub-questions can currently be identified:

1)      Can the involuntary and automatic transfer of other agents’ interest in events, objects and situations parsimoniously be related to later perspective-taking ability?

2)      How does the task-related relevance of objects and situations in the world interact with our apparent automatic sensitivity to other people’s perspectives?

3)      How does adults’ attention scaffold the reasoning abilities of young pre-schoolers? (in collaboration with Elia Psouni, dept. of psychology)

Project members

Andreas Falck, PhD student, dept. of psychology

PhD advisors

Magnus Lindgren, Professor, dept. of psychology

Ingar Brinck, Professor, dept. of philosophy


Falck A, Brinck I and Lindgren M (2014). Interest contagion in violation-of-expectation-based false-belief tasks. Front. Psychol. 5:23. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00023