Research suggests that liberals and conservatives respond differently to gaze
Research suggests that liberals and conservatives respond differently to gaze cuing, which is the tendency to shift attention in the direction suggested by another person's eye movements (Dodd, Hibbing, & Smith, 2011). In the study, participants watched a drawing of a face on a computer screen. The eyes on the face would then look either left or right and, shortly afterward, a dot would appear on either the left or right side of the screen. Participants had to respond as quickly as possible indicating the side on which the dot appeared.
Liberals tended to shift their attention to the side indicated by the eyes and were significantly faster when the dot appeared on that side but significantly slower when the dot was on the opposite side. Conservatives, on the other hand were not influenced by the eye direction and were equally fast no matter where the dot appeared. One possible explanation is that liberals are more empathetic and more likely to be influenced by others. The following data are simply measures of whether participants shifted their gaze in the direction of another person's eye movements.
a. Do these results indicate a significant difference between the two political groups? Test with a = .05.
b. The relationship between responding to gaze cues and political tendency can also be evaluated with a phi-coefficient. Compute the phi-coefficient for these data.
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